Every day we make choices. Today you chose how early you would wake up, what you would or wouldn’t eat for breakfast, and what time to start getting things done.
Sure, some choices are outside of your control, ones that are already made for you. Maybe you feel trapped by those kinds of choices. Good News! Those sorts of choices aren’t as common as you might think!
Do you feel trapped in a job? Find a new job!
Don’t like the part of the city you live in? Move!
Are you unhappy in your marriage? Go to counseling!
Your spouse won’t go to counseling with you? Go alone!
You have the power to make choices that will set you back, stagnate your life, or stimulate growth.
What kind of choices are you making right now? Are you making choices that are setting you back? Are you making choices that are stagnating your life? Or are you making choices that will stimulate growth?
I can’t count the times I’ve asked my kids about the decisions they’re making. We want our children to grow up making wise choices. We help them learn to understand danger and consequences.
While we ask our kids to make better choices, how many times do we need someone to ask us to make better decisions?
Let’s do better.
Let’s walk through three choices we can make that will radically shift your perspective and life. These are choices you can make today. There’s nothing keeping you from them, except yourself, and in making them, you will radically change the way you process conflict, tension, and challenging seasons.
CHOOSE MERCY INSTEAD OF JUSTICE
Mercy only applies when you’ve been done wrong when someone owes you for having wronged you.
The next time someone does you wrong, thank God for the chance to explore your relationship with mercy and justice.
Justice is the desire to see all that is wrong made right. It’s an innate sense in our soul that evokes itself when someone has been abused, and we long for the abuser to be punished. When the rules are broken, justice demands punishment.
Mercy is, however, the withholding of punishment to do good to someone.
We want justice when we’ve been wronged.
We want mercy when we’re wrong.
What if you started treating those who had wronged you the way you want to be treated when you’re wrong yourself?
CHOOSE GRACE INSTEAD OF JUDGEMENT
Who’s the judge in your life? Is it you? Is it your ego? Is it the opinion of your friends? Or… Is it God?
When we’re judge, we often give judgments. You’ll find us saying things like “they’re not a good person,” “I don’t deserve that,” “I don’t like them,” “they are so wrong,” and even “they’re going to hell for that.”
If you’re sitting on the judgment throne, you’re living in a tiny kingdom.
Judgment is a just act of control that administrates authority to make the things that we’re wrong right.
Grace a merciful act that gives what has not been earned.
When someone makes a mistake, how do you respond? Do you start in with the “should haves” and “would haves”? Do you give them justice, or do you provide them with grace?
In life, you’ll face challenges. Your choices will set how you navigate those challenges.
Judgement makes you the center of a challenge.
Grace makes love the center of a challenge.
What if you started demanding (of yourself) that you love others through seasons of difficulty instead of demanding that others give in to you ways when you navigate difficult seasons together?
CHOOSE LOVE INSTEAD OF INDIFFERENCE
The opposite of love isn’t hate. Both love and hate are passionate emotions. The opposite of love is indifference.
Too often, we try to shield ourselves from negative emotions. Still, it’s the discomfort that pushes us forward in our story.
Love in action is mercy and grace.
Think of how indifferent you have to be to watch someone trying and criticize them and to see someone fail and mock them. That sort of indifference locks you away from the kind of life you were meant to live.
Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (reference: John 13:35)
In Jesus’ design, your life will make a difference when you love well. Your ability to love others isn’t a personality trait, it’s not a matter of how extraverted you are, and it’s not an option.
Simply put: Jesus commands that you love others well.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus (in John 13:34-35).
If you want to learn to navigate the inevitable tensions, conflicts, and changes in this life, you need to do so with the arsenal of mercy, grace, and love.
LET’S DO BETTER
Instead of reaching for justice and judgment, think of your relationship with Jesus, and be compelled to make for others the same decision that Jesus made for you!
God has been exceedingly loving to us, rich in kindness and mercy.
Let’s give that away as if our lives depended on it, because, well, they do!
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Why is it so hard for us to give grace, mercy, and love?