“How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we affirm that sins are punished by his judgment before putting first that they are forgiven by his mercy! It is truly so. We have to put mercy before judgment, and in every case God’s judgment will always be in the light of his mercy.”” – Pope Francis
How many times do we jump off the “cliff of assuming” the worst about someone, some event or the opinion of others before first exerting the gift of mercy,through listening to what it being said, paying attention to what is being done (seeing the bigger picture) and examining the facts of the matter at hand? How often do we truly “ponder” what it means to have a listening heart of love for that cry from our neighbor before passing judgement on what they are trying to do or say? One of the most wonderful gifts of mercy is simply listening to someone. To hear them and locate where they are. Meaning, to see with our Lord’s heart, the struggle they are in and to try to lend a hand to help them up and out of it. An extra set of ears, just being there for them, is mercy.
Most times rather than listen to our neighbor seeking help, we quickly pull out that sword of righteousness and finish them off with our own pride, which doesn’t do our Lord’s gift of patience much good, nor does it give much honor, praise or glory back to Him if we don’t switch gears and use the gift of humility. When we extend the gift of mercy through listening, we are actually using the gift of patience we have obtained by the Holy Spirit through our own tribulations. Tribulations, much the same as our neighbors are also going through. Never forget where you came from.
Do you remember the “STOP! DROP! AND ROLL!” fire safety technique taught to us as children? When engaging in discussions the same can be applied to our faith. STOP speaking and listen. DROP the assumption you have of the neighbor. AND ROLL away the stone preventing you from being merciful first, before trying to help them to roll away the stone you feel is holding them back. That little extension of mercy, can and often times is a hidden gift to you from our Lord, that you just can’t see yet. Think about what is being said and use discernment to see what God is telling you to do and say. Think of all the times you were in that situation and how many wrong turns you also took before “listening” to our Lord’s direction on how to get out. Not what “you” think you should do and say. Never jump to conclusions because with our Lord, with the repentant sinners life, conclusions regarding ourselves, once held by the penitent in regards to our own lives and ideas, change drastically for the better when we use His grace in the way it was intended to be used, trusting completely in His mercy and accepting His judgement. Peace!