The spiritual watchword for the year 2021

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6, 36

 

Dear Readers,

 

I wish you all a blessed New Year 2021. I wish you preservation in spirit, soul and body. And I wish you that you may experience the mercy of our Father in Heaven each day of the year. May the love of God be with you as a companion.

 

May I also wish you that you can continue to show Christian charity to many people. May I wish us together to be merciful especially to our enemies? That is, those who make life difficult for us. With them we are to have compassion, says the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

I agree with you: these are strange wishes! And are they not even unrealizable wishes? Before Jesus asks his listeners to be merciful, he explains what he means with it (Lk. 6, 27 – 29, Love for Enemies):  “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other side as well. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”

 

I might think, this is just impossible! Unless I get a different perspective. I have read the following story, which I found somewhere. It helped me a lot: 

 

A father is sitting in a crowded subway with his two small children. The children are romping on the seats and make a lot of noise. The father sits there and just says nothing. Without reaction, he just looks in front of him. One passenger is so annoyed by the children that he asks the father to quiet his children down. The father says, "We just came from the hospital. The children lost their mother earlier.” - From one minute to the next, no one is bothered by the romping children who now have no mother. No one is bothered by a father who doesn't know what to do next. Everyone understands that these children and their father are simply overwhelmed.

 

The first step towards merciful love will be to see the other in the reality of his life. I can only sympathize with the one whose suffering I know. I can only sympathize with the suffering of another person, if I allow myself to be touched by it.

 

In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10, 25 - 37) Jesus shows us exactly this attitude of heart. Only the Samaritan (by the way, he was a foreigner!) had compassion for this person who became a victim of robbers. He took time for this helpless person. He invested his strength, his time and his money into this person. He took him out of the danger zone. And he invested in the life of a stranger.

 

God invests in our life. In your life, in my life. God does not want us to be miserable and hopeless on the ground. He sees us when we have been invaded by "robbers." Of the worries that rob us of sleep. Of the unfulfilled longings and desires that rob us of inner peace. Of the illness that robs us of vitality.

Like the Good Samaritan, Jesus, the merciful Son of God, bends down to us. He invests everything in us so that we can get out of the danger zone and find our way back into life. We Christians may be God´s hands. We may be his time account. We may be his bank account. We are allowed to be merciful as he himself is merciful. We are to be merciful because the Lord is merciful with us.

 

I wish you a peaceful New Year. May the Lord bless you! 

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© 2021 Hans-Peter Nann, Frankfurt am Main