Devotional: New Mercies for All

new mercies

“This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,  Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning;  Great is Your faithfulness.  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”   The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.   It is good that one should hope and wait quietly   For the salvation of the LORD.” Lamentations 3:21-26

Question: For whom are the new mercies and compassions?

Answer: All of us. We all need new mercy each day…

Have you ever frozen in your mind an image of a person based solely upon your last negative impression of them? I have; maybe you have, too. It can be so easy to judge, to assume we know why they acted the way they did. We may find ourselves distancing from that person. We may mentally “freeze” that person and treat them politely but at arm’s length.

In reality, we may not know when we have offended someone or they might not know when they have offended us. We could avoid so many unintentional offenses by simply paying attention to those in our field of vision. When we are so busy thinking about the next task we need to accomplish, we may miss the person right in front of us. This scenario, missing the person in front of us, is played out over and over again each day no matter where we might be. While we all have tasks to accomplish, the person “on the way” to the next task, or the next person, is worthy of noticing.

When we judge our actions based on what we think our own motives were, we can sometimes easily excuse our actions because we believe we have good intentions. When we assign motivations to a person based on their actions, we are practicing something called the “fundamental attribution error”…attributing motives to them based on the actions we saw them do. It is very difficult to know the motivations of others and so easy to assume we know why they did what they did.

Have you ever “frozen” someone in your last negative impression of them? Give them another chance. Just as we have received new mercies, they also need new mercies from us this morning.

Let us pray: God, we admit we have ignored persons right in front of us, in order to do what we think is the next important task. We ask You to forgive us and help us to pay attention to what we need to see along our pathways today. Where we have offended others, even unintentionally, we ask You to forgive us and help us know when and to whom to offer an apology. Help us with any tendencies to assign motives to the actions of others and ways we have excused our own actions based on what we believe were our own good motivations. Show us, today, O God, who we have frozen in our last negative impression of them. Give us mercy in our hearts to start the thawing process and release them from any offense we may have taken. Amen.