Love Mercy, Do Justice May 2023 Scripture Reflection

Celeste Kellenberger   -  

Ephesians 4:31-32, 1 Corinthians 13:13

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32 

When I listen to the news, I feel a great sense of despair. Bitterness, rage, and anger seem to be the knee jerk reaction being reported on the news. There appears to be a lack of compassion and civility when dealing with conflict. False witnesses and slandering from people in authority are commonplace, with no regard to the impact those words may have on others.

I often ask myself during my time of prayer if I’m a part of the problem. What am I doing to open pathways so honest dialog can lead to lasting solutions? I am more than willing to accept God’s grace and forgiveness when I’ve demonstrated bitterness, rage, anger, and spoken harsh words. Do I allow others the gift of God’s grace and forgiveness when we don’t see eye to eye? An “us versus them” mentality can prevent reaching solutions to our problems.

I was convicted by this “us versus them” mindset. To build up God’s Kingdom I must be willing to give grace to people who look, think, dress, love, vote, or act differently from me. To be tenderhearted when we exchange ideas. If I don’t afford that grace and forgiveness to others, I’m diminishing the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. Having an attitude of superiority and arrogance feeds into the despair I feel as I listen to the news. I give myself permission to step back, take a breath, and allow myself time to process conflict.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

“We don’t have to think alike in order to love alike.” (seen on a local church marquee)