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Lenten Meditation: Be Merciful

Lent

From The Word Among Us, a beautiful meditation to start the week:

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36)

One day, a dad was playing with his young daughter, holding her above him in the air like an airplane. Looking into her father’s eyes, the daughter suddenly squealed with delight, “Daddy, I see me in your eyes!” The father grinned, “I see me in your eyes too.”

This is the kind of face-to-face encounter that God, our heavenly Father, wants to have with us. Just as children reflect their parents’ philosophies, dispositions, and even mannerisms, he wants us to reflect his own heart of compassion and mercy as we relate to the people in our lives. There is truth to the old saying “You may be the only Bible some people ever read!”

Of course, the most perfect reflection of the Father is Jesus himself—the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). As the perfect image of the Father, Jesus came to earth not only to reveal God’s compassionate heart but to teach us how we too could live as God’s children. In today’s Gospel reading, he gives us some very practical ways that we can show the world who our Father is. First, he gives us two things to stop: “Stop judging. Stop condemning.” Then he give us two things we should do: “Forgive” and “Give” (Luke 6:37-38).

But Jesus didn’t just tell us what to do. As the perfect image of God, he also taught by example, from halting the stoning of a woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) to dining with known “sinners” and prostitutes and ultimately to laying down his life to rescue us from sin.

So look into Jesus’ eyes today, and see yourself as he sees you—as a treasured child created in God’s own image and likeness. See the great capacity that God has woven into your very being, the capacity to forgive, to be generous, and to be an instrument of his peace. As you do, your heart will soften, and you’ll be able to see other people in the same light. Know that with the help of his Spirit, you really can put away judgments and condemnation. And always remember that your Father is proud of you!

“Father, I know that you love me. Help me to reflect your mercy and love to the world today.”

Daniel 9:4-10; Psalm 79:8-9, 11, 13

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