Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in times of trouble. The Lord protects and preserves them—they are counted among the blessed in the land—he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. Psalm 41:1-2
My strengths make me able to handle certain challenges. While I may excel in those areas, I can be certain that I’ll struggle in others. My weaknesses put me at a disadvantage. Because each of us is unique, what comprises our individual challenges differ.
Even though I know this theoretically, it’s easy to be impatient with someone else’s weakness. My mercy seems to have limits as I say under my breath, “Why can’t they just get it together!” It is judgment without discernment. I fail to take into account that their weakness is not my weakness nor is their strength, my strength. It’s likely that they are also impatient with me when I struggle with my personal Achilles heel. Many things contribute to the causes of impatience. Culture, biases, training, arrogance ~ all these can erase needed compassion. Examples:
- I know an extremely wealthy Christian woman who has no compassion for the poor. Worth tens of millions, she gives liberally to charities. She also has mercy for the sick. But when it comes to the poor, she really believes that they have created their own destiny. If they worked harder or had made different choices, they would live comfortably. For a time, I was in her circle of friends and I can tell you that I, personally, suffered from her bias at a time when we faced financial hardship.
- I also know a healthy, energetic person who can’t understand those who live in chronic pain. She puts time limits on her empathy.
- And how many of us know people who have never tasted clinical depression. As a result, they won’t empathize with those who live with shadows ever at their heels.
Whatever the cause of our judgments, God needs to help us. Transformation starts with an acknowledgement that man’s mercy falls short of God’s mercy. David wants us to know that God has high regard for those in need. He does not leave them. He blesses them. He fiercely protects them from their foes. How ironic would it be for me to judge the needy, walk by, and then carry on with the ministry God has entrusted to me? One thing for sure, I am not like Jesus.
Oh, how I know. Even with the spiritual gift of mercy, I have a long way to go to resemble You. Amen