I am turning to Webster's again for a definition. Mercy is defined as: compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender (i.e. as God shows mercy to a sinner). That definition best fit what I wanted to write about today. However, it led me to look up the definition of forbearance. That is defined as: 1. a refraining from the enforcement of something that is due 2. the act of forbearing: PATIENCE 3. the quality of being forbearing: LENIENCY.
Now I am going to explain why I'm writing this post. Last night our family was dealing with some unpleasant child behaviors (as I'm sure many families may have been, if not last night, sometime within the past week). I will not go into details or tell which child was the offender in this case. However, I will fully admit that I was not feeling MERCIFUL or FORBEARING last night when dealing with the behaviors, nor was I feeling either of those things even this morning as I woke up and thought about it all again. Actually, I was still hanging onto my anger. I know I should have let it go by the morning, but I am sinful and human, and I hadn't. At some point within the first hour or so after I had awoken in a bad mood, it hit me hard that my feelings of disappointment and anger may, in fact, be very similar to what God feels when we, his human children, fail to live up to his teachings and expectations. I would fall into that category pretty much on any given day at any hour on the clock (well, maybe not when I'm asleep!). And I was humbled, again, by HIS MERCY and love. And I was reminded that God provides the ultimate parenting example for all of us struggling to raise our children to be kind, respectful, compassionate people. We must first remember that we ourselves on a DAILY BASIS are the recipients of His love and mercy even though we probably don't deserve it. And we must remember, in turn, to show that compassion, love and mercy to those around us, even when we feel that they don't deserve it. Today I am thanking God for His mercy, and asking for His help in becoming a more merciful and compassionate parent, especially in the thick of it.
Wait, no, not enough. I want to say one more thing (DH claims I always have to say one more thing and I guess that's true. However, he may appreciate THIS last thing.) I've written before about what a great guy my husband is. And I want you all to know that HE is naturally much more merciful and forbearing than I am. Sometimes this causes "clashes" between us as we try to process how to best handle our children's behavior. However, I am very grateful for these special qualities in him. And I know our boys will benefit greatly from being raised by such a loving and compassionate father.