If today you hear His Voice, harden not your hearts. Hebrews 3. As I started writing this post the verse from Hebrews wiggled its way to the top of the thoughts running through my brain. I took a moment to look it up and then read the chapter the verse is in. The chapter speaks of hearing God’s voice and listening to his commands, and not hardening our hearts against that. Being faithful even when, especially when things are tough. It speaks of being faithful rather than being rebellious.
Being faithful rather than rebellious is challenging at best. Because who doesn’t want everything to always go the way they see it in their mind? For me there are a few things in life I’d like to change and bend to my will. “See God, I want it this way, not the way things are right now. If we just go my way things will be so very much better.” How does one go from praying, “not my will but yours” to “whoa! this isn’t what I had in mind so let’s just change things around here” Oh yeah. God created a human being with free-will, gave her a mind and a heart and a brain and hair on my chin. Yes, I just said that.
In the midst of this back and forth way of thinking, being and praying…
Did you ever do something that seemed good and later regret it? Or perhaps do something lovely and later try desperately to Not regret it? I don’t want to regret that good thing. I just don’t because it’s a good thing. Because I can see clearly that my heart would harden just a little bit more than it is already. There are places of my heart that need softening, if only I’d open up to the Lord a little more and trust him ever more deeply. Can you just imagine for a moment God regretting freeing the Israelites from Egypt? Well, he kind of did and forbid an entire generation from entering the promised land. One. Entire. Generation. Can you imagine the collective heartache of that generation?
Compassion has been on my mind and heart for a while now. How do I become more compassionate? Well I actually know the answer…I stop, pray and think.
Where am I not doing well with compassion? This is debatable, and concerning, and I need to sit with this more.
How is that other person thinking about this situation? This is going to take some imaginative gymnastics on my part to set aside the emotion on my part and not project my own negative feelings onto the other person.
What hurt lives within their heart that I’m not seeing because I’m focusing in on my own hurt? And this is the beginning of compassion.
How do I stop that “if they only knew this, then that would be all set” kind of thinking? I’m not responsible for the compassion, love, kindness, thoughtfulness, grace of anyone else. I am only responsible for the compassion, love, kindness, thoughtfulness, grace and mercy I extend to others. I am responsible for how I act on whats going on here, with me. I am responsible to do my very best, and accept that it might not be enough. I am responsible for caring for people, in spite of. That’s my job.
Realizing this is a step toward softening those hardened areas of my own heart. I want to hear God’s voice today, to not be rebellious. I long to turn towards God. I long for a mind that is not wounded at every perceived offence. I long. . .
In this Year of Mercy I’m called to be Mercy, to extend mercy. I’m called to not doing something beautiful even when things are going all haywire around me. I’m called to being the gift of life to someone else, even when that means setting boundaries and holding to them. I’m called to Mercy.