“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul (Psalm 143:8.)”
Residents of the mid-Atlantic in the United States are crying “uncle!” Another blizzard swept through this weekend, stranding people on the highways and at home, snapping power lines, and creating general havoc. As the old phrase says, many folks have got to be saying, “Have mercy!”
There are others who are taking another view of the most recent storm. There are a lot of photos this morning of people out skiing, snowboarding, sledding and throwing snowballs, and generally having fun. The people in these pictures are smiling and enjoying themselves. My wife saw the blizzard as an entrepreneurial venture. She went out with my youngest daughter yesterday and shoveled walks and driveways for cash.
When David went through tough times, he cried for mercy like some people have been doing with the record winter weather. He was worn out from all the struggle. However, his problems weren’t weather related. He had issues with other people (Psalm 143:3,4).
The biggest problem for David was that people were running their mouths about him. He called on God to silence them (Psalm 143:12). He asked God to powerfully intervene on his behalf with enemies who were lying about him. These foes were probably getting a hearing, too, because they presented themselves as being pure as the wind-driven snow when they were in fact corrupt and selfish (Psalm 144:5-8).
In the midst of crying for mercy and deliverance in his awful circumstances, David also asked what he could do about them. He wanted to learn to do God’s will so that his life would level out and not be so chaotic (Psalm 143:10).
So what can we do when we are faced with the same kind of people that David encountered, people who are working either in public or behind the scenes to take us down? When it comes to relationships with others, even our enemies, the apostle Paul has some good advice. He said to “be ready to do whatever is good” (Titus 3:1). He reminded his friend Titus that we believers were once like the people who are coming after us. “We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another,” said Paul (Titus 3:3).
The difference between believers and the people attacking us is that we have received mercy for our previous behavior. Jesus Christ graciously saved us and made us new. Remembering what Jesus did for us will lead us to treat people differently. It will give us cause to devote ourselves to doing what is good instead of reacting the way we used to before we knew Christ (Titus 3:4-8).
What does “doing what is good” look like in practice? Doing what is good involves not backbiting others even though they are slandering us. Doing what is good means dealing with our enemies in a peaceable and considerate way when they are doing the opposite , and exhibiting true humility towards them, even if they acting in a proud way toward us (Titus 3:2).
Perhaps doing what is good towards our foes will lead them to Christ. Doing what is good will give us a different outlook on our stormy lives. While crying out for mercy, we can also give it.
First, though, we have to remind ourselves of what God has done for us. We can be mindful of his generosity. We will then look at the difficult people in our lives in a different way. Because we have received grace, we can be gracious to others.