Some days I feel as if I am knee deep in a marsh of hate, sloshing around in waist high boots in the muck and mire of anger that this world seems to spew out continuously. I anxiously navigate through, hoping it doesn’t attach itself to me, like a leach.

Some days I think I made it out unscathed! “No leaches on me!” I say. But is that true? Aren’t I a bit biased? How do I really know there is no hate on me? Hate is sneaky, it starts out slow and is cultivated over time, it’s not always easy to detect in ourselves because excuses prevail.

I shouldn’t be the one who gets to decide if I’m being angry or mean, anyway. I’m way too gentle on myself…definately not as hard as I am on others. Excusing is one of my specialties… “But, hey look at what they’re doing!” and “I’m not as bad as they are…plus the truth must be told!”

Sigh, when will the harshness end? When will we realize that we’re all in the swamp together covered with mud, and manure? We are oblivious to our own demise, for there are no mirrors in the swamp; the water is too blurred to see our reflections. So, we only look at the sins of others and pay no attention to ours…it’s easier that way. It can get kind of comfy in the swamp not dealing with our own mess.

But I don’t want to live there…and I know you don’t either. So I am learning…as hard as it is…to focus not on my brother or sister’s brokenness…but only on my own. I try to take my attention off of other people and onto myself and my own healing and restoration. This where we obtain God’s mercy. And as we receive mercy, we then show the mercy of Christ to everyone we encounter. Why? Because they are made in the mage of God…even if that image has been disfigured…for we know our image is disfigured too.

So let us join together in trying to become more like Christ, trying to show grace and mercy to those we think don’t deserve it, because we have been shown that same grace and mercy by God. As I recently read, “It’s dangereous not to love our enemies, but there is nothing more spiritually beneficial than to forgive and serve them.”

As we navigate through love instead of hate remember to pray for those you struggle with. Ask God to bless them and have mercy on them; as we do our love will grow for them. When we focus on our own sins and problems rather than condemning others for there’s, healing and peace will come. Remember, as much as we need God’s mercy, so do others.

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