What does loving mercy have to do with loving a prodigal?

What does loving mercy have to do with loving a prodigal?

A Story by Precious Prodigal

Micah 6:8  “…what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy…

God not only expects us to “walk justly,” that is to say we are to do the right thing, but He also expects us to “love mercy.”  I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot more difficult for me than to just do the right thing myself. It implies tolerance, acceptance, patience and forgiveness…four things that aren’t high on my list of assets. Perhaps we could begin by taking a look at love as defined in the Scriptures and how it relates to loving mercy.

I still believe love is an action word, and we need to walk it rather than just talk it. But is that all? Not according to 1 Corinthians 13. There it says no matter how gifted or talented I am, it is nothing without love. Hey, I can agree with that, can’t you? It goes on to say if I have great faith and wisdom, those too are nothing without love. I can agree with that as well. But it then goes one step further than my natural ability or godly wisdom and says if I give everything I own to feed the poor, and I do it without love, it profits nothing.

Wait a minute. Those of us who love a prodigal know about giving until it hurts and then giving some more. We have sacrificed and given until we have nothing left to give financially, physically, or emotionally. If that isn’t love, what is? I’m right there with you, and I could talk about my latest “investment,” but I don’t need to. You know the things we do. So I was furious when I found out my prodigal had talked badly about me to someone, even while I was gathering things to give her. Was I angry? What do you think? I don’t make a habit of using curse words, so I didn’t do that. But I did say some really unkind things…cruel things even.

Whatever else that is, it isn’t love. Why? Because love “suffers long and is kind.” I’m absolutely sure that any of you who love a prodigal totally understand my frustration, hurt, and disappointment. You no doubt even understand my anger and my striking out because of it. We’ve all been there. Many of us are still there. And I could feel validated by the fact that you agree with me. However, God expects more than that. He expects me to be kind even if I have “suffered long.” We know about suffering, don’t we? And we know about suffering for a long time.

It isn’t easy to be kind or respond kindly when people hurt us. At least it isn’t easy for me. But what is there about loving a prodigal that’s easy? It would have been much better if I had taken my hurt and anger to the Lord and dealt with it before I talked to my prodigal. Then the words I said wouldn’t still linger in my memory. I have plenty of things that would be more pleasant to think about than the things we said to each other. And I did that to myself.

Challenge for Today: Can you, just for today, choose to be kind no matter how hurt you feel? Can you take that disappointment to the Lord instead of shooting your prodigal with it?

© 2013 Precious Prodigal

Author's Note

Precious Prodigal
July 10, 2013:
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