If you know me at all, you know that I love tools. I have already shared some tools with you to use in your blended family – to make sure you have good lighting – the light of God and His Word to guide you as you help lead this new dynamic of a family; and the tool of obedience to God – even though it may not popular – and possibly more difficult. As I have been thinking about tools we have to make a difference in our families, I keep hearing the words, grace and mercy. Let’s examine what those words mean and how to use these special tools.
Grace is defined as “the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.” Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” In other words, we did nothing to earn God’s love and favor. He created us. He loves us – has a special affection for us. In my own meager way of understanding this I look at the special projects that I have created. I used my abilities and talents and ended up with something I truly enjoy and admire. These projects did nothing to earn my favor – they are valued based on the fact that I created them. I believe God feels the same way about us – each one of us crafted by His hands to add beauty and purpose to this life. I believe this is how we should look at each family member – they bring beauty and purpose to this life. We just need to look past the struggle, hurt, bitterness, and resentment to see what God created and allow God to help us encourage this new family to rise up to His expectations and His purpose. Your family needs your grace – simply based upon the fact that they are now your family. Don’t hold back this priceless tool that will open up a world of opportunities in your future and in the lives of your family.
The next tool that I want you to practice using is mercy. Mercy is defined as “compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” Ephesians 2:4-5 explains it this way: “… because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions …” This special tool requires wisdom and composure. In your family of struggles with an ex-spouse, or step children who won’t give you the time of day – or even a husband who doesn’t understand what you are feeling and going through, mercy is an opportunity to not repay the wrongdoings of others. It is the ability to see that we are all human and will fail each other time and time again. You can either walk in this life feeling like you are a judge – and sentence your penalties upon those in your path – or you can walk in understanding and forgiveness. Mercy is like water falling off a duck’s back. They have a certain oil that makes their feathers not absorb the water – it just quickly rolls off allowing them to be able to take flight immediately. Wow… what freedom we would all have if we allowed others’ transgressions against us to just fall off of us – allowing us to go and be kind and move forward – instead of creating a wake of destruction to the already broken scenario.
Mercy – when you don’t get what you deserve, and Grace – when you get what you don’t deserve. Please ponder these valuable tools and then decide to place them in your own tool belt. The more you use your tools, the more natural it becomes to use them.