Saint Hilary of Arles (5th Century Archbishop) described mercy when he advised: “Complain as little as possible of your wrongs, for as a general rule you may be sure that complaining is sin … because self-love always magnifies our injuries”.
The closer we are to someone, the more visible that person’s faults become. Every day, there’s a valid reason to complain unless we’re walking around unconscious.
However, love calms our whiney spirits and gives us patience. God has more reasons to complain about me and you than we have about our sweethearts, and yet his Radical Love for us makes him slow to anger and rich in mercy (Psalm 103:8).
First, we acknowledge why we ourselves need God’s patience. Next, we admit that it’s self-centeredness that makes us unhappy with our sweetheart’s imperfections – we want him/her to change because it would make our lives easier
Then we accept and receive God’s merciful love and forgiveness. And this empowers us to give his merciful love and forgiveness to our sweetheart, even in the midst of his/her worst imperfections.
And after that, we are finally ready and able to partner with our beloved as he/she works on improving the way God thinks is best — while he/she simultaneously helps us improve.
- What habit or behavior of mine irritates my beloved?
- In what ways have I already helped my beloved improve in collaboration with his/her own desire to improve?
Strengthen your relationship:
Write on a piece of paper one or two reasons why you seek your beloved’s forgiveness. Exchange papers, give forgiveness, and destroy the papers. Then embrace and, while hugging or holding hands, offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for his love and mercy.
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© 2017 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries