“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’ Zechariah 7:9-10 NIV
At the start of the pandemic we got to know some neighbours during our daily walks. They were new to Canada but from a part of the world that I have lived in before, so I was thrilled to make new friends. As we spent time together, I have noticed that not everyone in our neighbourhood is eager to accept this family. In fact, one family won’t let their daughter play with mine if the new girl is around.
Last year our family welcomed in two new little girls that we are in the process of adopting. They are the cousin and sibling of our seven year old daughter, who we adopted six years ago. They are distant relatives of mine, and even though their biological family could not be caregivers, they have become a part of our big, messy family, with regular visits and celebrations together. In all honesty, it would be easier for me if we kept them at a distance, but keeping them close is the more compassionate thing to do for the girls and for their biological family.
Showing mercy and compassion to the vulnerable can take many forms in our daily lives. It is often not big or flashy, but it is intentional. It starts with those in my closest circles and extends to all, as God created every human in his image to be treated with dignity and respect.
True justice, on behalf of the marginalized and vulnerable, should be an intentional pursuit of every Christ follower. But that tension is hard. I tend to focus on personal relationships, glorifying mercy and compassion for others, and absolving myself of perpetuating injustice in society. I fail to confess my passive participation in a broken world and fail to engage in the work of pursuing justice for the vulnerable and the marginalized. God’s way is to show mercy and compassion for all while pursuing justice.
Prayer of Response:
Lord God, thank you for providing the way of Jesus where mercy and compassion for all lead to justice for all willing to receive it. Please open our eyes to see the marginalized. Give us the courage and desire to welcome them into our messy lives. Teach us how to humbly do justly and show mercy.
Questions to Ponder:
1. Is there a group of people that I leave out of God’s mercy and care?
2. Who are the people in need in my city or neighbourhood?
3. How can I make the best use of my resources to help others?
—Submitted by Christa Eisbrenner
Christa has known the love of Jesus for as long as she can remember. She serves on the Executive team of Lifesprings and as the dean for the School of Women in Ministry in Canada. She loved living among the global church while serving in vocational ministry on four continents over 16 years but came home to the Canadian prairies. Christa is married to Jason, the proud stepmom to three young women, and kinship, adoptive mom to three little girls.