“Be merciful, just as God is merciful.
Do not judge, for you will not be judged.”
I admit that I’d engaged in a bit of self-deprecation. I’d been emotional and angry, sometimes with reason and sometimes for no reason at all. I questioned my life’s work, wondering exactly what that might be.
A few mornings later, while heading to the kitchen for breakfast, I passed our wall of family photos. When I noticed my dad’s picture, he seemed to be smiling at me. Suddenly, words he’d spoken to me decades earlier echoed in my mind. My dad had told me, “You’re much harder on yourself than anyone else would ever be.” Though I didn’t understand what he meant at the time, that morning, I understood.
I’ve spent much of my life second-guessing myself, wondering if anything I’ve said or done has been good enough. Though my childhood was filled with the company of numerous encouraging adults, a single harsh word sent me into a tailspin. It took me weeks or longer to recover. Of course, most of those around me were completely oblivious to my self-imposed pain because I persisted in trying even harder to please them. It wasn’t until years into adulthood that I realized God’s mercy wasn’t only to be imitated in my relationships with others, but also in my regard for myself.
That morning, I promised to stop judging me. Today, I’m pleased to report that I’ve kept that promise for the most part. When I find myself faltering, I repeat my dad’s words to me and start anew.
Loving God, thank you for inspiring my dad with your amazingly merciful love and for inspiring me to listen to him.
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