Kate’s Gift

My daughter, Kate, has not yet completed her spiritual gifts assessment, but I’m pretty sure when she does, mercy will show up as one of her prominent gifts.  I first noticed this when she was a teenager.  She often had friends who were needy or underprivileged in some way.  She wanted to volunteer at the local rescue mission.  She wanted to help others, even when my husband and I, as her parents, were afraid that doing so was risky for her. I couldn’t understand sometimes, why she was so set on people and activities that might lead her into undesirable environments.  It finally dawned one me– Kate has the gift of mercy!  She is naturally drawn to the people who need her the most.

That helped me tremendously.  As her mother, I still had to guide her until she learned to use that gifts in ways that were appropriate for her age and situation;  but I also had to allow her some room to exercise that God-given ability when she could.

Here’s how the Fanning the Flame workbook describes the gift of mercy.  Do you have this gift?  If so, the Lutheran Ladies would like to hear from you.

 MERCY

 Literal Meaning: To have compassion

Description: The gift of mercy is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals, both Christian and non-Christian, who suffer distressing physical, mental or emotional problems, and to translate that compassion into cheerfully done deeds that reflect Christ’s love and alleviate the suffering.

Distinctives:

q     Focus upon alleviating the sources of pain or discomfort in suffering people

q     Address the needs of the lonely and forgotten

q     Extend love, grace, and dignity to those facing hardships and crisis

q     Serve in difficult or unsightly circumstances and do so cheerfully

q     Concern themselves with individual or social issues that oppress people

 

Traits: Cautions:
q Empathetic q Need to be aware that rescuing people from their
q Caring pain may be hindering God’s work in them
q Responsive q Need to guard against feeling “unappreciated,” since
q Kind some of the people helped will not show or express
q Compassionate any appreciation
q Sensitive q Should guard against becoming defensive and angry
q Burden-bearing about the sources of others’ pain

 

References: Acts 16:33-34; Matthew 5:7; Romans 12:8; Hebrews 4:16

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Mercy

Matthew 7:1-2

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

For the past few weeks, my husband and I have been dealing with terrible flooding in our area. After seven days of being trapped in the house and surrounded by water, my husband took a boat out to pick up some groceries. When he returned, he remarked on how strange it felt being in public after such a long period of worry and isolation. He said that someone made a joke to him as they walked by, and he was so unused to conversation that he did not reply to them in time and they walked away with no response. Now, anyone who knows my husband knows how unusual this is for him. Nick loves to talk to people, and is one of those guys that typically ends up in some gas station for an hour telling stories to strangers. I bet the stranger in that grocery store left thinking that Nick was perhaps rude, or at the very least not very friendly. When in fact, that is not him at all!!

So quickly we judge others in society. One conversation, one look towards someone, one action can completely shape our view of another person. I have always thought that I held the spiritual gift of mercy. I have always tried to consider another person’s situation or point of view before jumping to conclusions about them. How easy it is though to lapse on this, and to make snap judgements about someone. This story from my husband reminded me that we often have no idea what is going on in another person’s life. Our friends, our coworkers, and even people that we pass by in the grocery store may be struggling with some terrible situation or event. We can all remember a time when perhaps we did not put our best foot forward, or were preoccupied with our own worries instead of thinking about those around us. As such, it is our Christian duty to always behave towards others with compassion and mercy, even when we feel like it is not being returned to us. It is not always an easy thing to do every day, but sometimes these little reminders help us to continue to try.