Deeper Life: Cultivate a merciful heart in a cruel world

I wish
I couldn’t see
the broken heart
inside the one
who’s breaking me.

It’s hard
to digest
the poison
of another’s

but I can’t just get mad
and wash my hands
clean –

the problem
is I’ve noticed
how crushing
this world
can be,

we get caught up
in rip tides we didn’t see,
how shaky our footing was to begin with –
how quickly we get sucked in
too deep,

how desperately we
would do anything
not to sink.

It wasn’t me,
it never was,
it never will be –
I have a right to be angry.

I can’t pretend
to deserve
the graces
given to me –
to avoid disaster,
to see clearly,
to ask for more,
to open up and receive…

I can’t deny
the mercy
that’s stitched me up
and held me
in Light
of eternity –

I can’t refuse
to share
what’s been so freely
on me.

in this world,
is the only thing left
to drink-

so I do
what I have
to survive.

The slow work
of atonement
works it’s way through
every valve
of my broken heart,
after aching

Breath by breath,
the bitter cup
slowly transforms
into something
more closely resembling
and I think that’s the way
it has to be –
sincerity doesn’t absolve,
it plunges us
into the ache
of our broken humanity
because we are all
truly one.

“Forgive them Father, they know not what they do.” – Jesus

“Suffering is a great grace; through suffering the soul becomes like the Savior; in suffering love becomes crystallized; the greater the suffering, the purer the love.”  (#57, page 29)

In my life, I have had many opportunities to process trauma at the behavior of others – I would have never chosen this. In the process of healing, I have learned that anger is necessary in order to gain clear understanding and place accountability where it is due, but it can’t be a resting place or it becomes toxic to our relationship with God.

In a life of faith, forgiveness is the ultimate goal and the only way to be liberated from the effects of trauma. Jesus is the best example of this in His divine ability to forgive those, who were murdering Him on a cross, even while in so much pain.

We don’t live in a world of good guys and bad guys, where lines can be drawn in the sand categorizing us into one or the other. The unfortunate reality is that underneath every bad behavior is a heartbreaking story of disconnect from the essential nutrient of faith, hope and love – hurt people hurt people, it’s just the way it is.

Those of us, who sin in ordinary ways and have never been tempted to unimaginably bad behaviors don’t benefit by judging those who are. To often in our sense of moral superiority, we fail to internalized the essential concept in scriptures like “Judge not lest ye be judged” and “There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus”.

Yes, justice should absolutely be sought when a wrong has committed, and we should never tolerate abuse or bad behavior. But ultimately it’s God’s love and mercy that heals us all, and the world is starving to receive more of it through our own acts of empathy, compassion, forgiveness and humility.

To cultivate a merciful heart in a cruel world requires embracing our own cross so to speak, choosing to see the good in people even as they make bad decisions that hurt us personally or hurt those we care about.

To cultivate a merciful heart in a cruel world, we have to truly seek to understand the root cause of bad behavior, realizing the broken humanity, which can think hurtful behavior is the only option.

To cultivate a merciful heart in a cruel world, we need to do our own work of accountability by working on our interior life and cleaning out any of our own resentment, judgement, pride and sinfulness, gradually “taking the speck out of our own eye” so we can remove it from another, overflowing an increased abundance of mercy, love and forgiveness for others who haven’t figured out to do that yet.

Where are you at on your journey of cultivating a merciful heart? When have you been the recipient of God’s mercy? How have you offered mercy to others? Comment below, and I’ll be delighted to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Lord give us the grace to forgive those, who have hurt us. Help us to see them with eyes of unconditional love like You do. Through our prayers and actions, help us to show mercy to those, who are in most need of it. Give us the grace to truly pray for our enemies like you instructed that they may know your love. In Jesus name, we pray Amen.

written by Nicky Gant for 2/2/2021

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