“The one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:8
Showing mercy is pretty much the business of motherhood. Here are two definitions of mercy that seem SO fitting when applied to the everyday life of a mom:
- Compassionate treatment of those in distress.
- Compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power.
Don’t you love that… “those in distress”? Sounds all. too. familiar.
I was struck by the above Scripture in Romans 12, recently. What struck me is that the biblical instruction is not just to show mercy. As mothers, showing mercy is basically an obligation. Needy children (often in distress) surround you as the mom, needing drinks of water, needing to be taken to the bathroom, needing to be restrained from harming themselves or others, needing to be fed, needing a bandaid, needing to be buckled in and then unbuckled, needing to be instructed, needing to be bathed, needing to be cheered up, needing to be taken to the dentist, needing to have their hair fixed, needing to be pushed on the swing, needing assistance riding a bike, needing to be put down for a nap, needing to be woken up….
So it’s not just about showing mercy and compassion to our needy children. It’s about with cheerfulness. Am I annoyed and frustrated by all the needs? If I am, everyone else in the family probably is too. Dear Nancy Campbell states, “We are a smiling family. It makes all the difference.” Am I happy and smiling while I meet the needs, or am I begrudging? Yikes. I’m not going to answer that question.
It’s not only needy children who need mercy, of course. Needy people are all around us. Some people are just plain difficult and can actually even be an offender in our lives, to some degree. Time for a checkup. Am I showing mercy? Am I doing it with cheerfulness?
A big job; a tall order. Thankfully, as believers, we have the Holy Spirit who comes alongside to help. I know I have fallen short countless times in this area of mothering and life in general. I have observed some people who seem to be very good at showing mercy with cheerfulness, and I’m so thankful for their example! So, we press on and are thankful for our God who shows so much mercy and kindness to us.