I used to think I was a merciful person, that I treated other people the way I want to be treated, but I have come to realize these thoughts were merely delusions of goodness.
My husband went into the bathroom after I had brushed my teeth. He called me into the room and in an annoyed tone showed me the splashes of water I had left on the wall by the sink. I replied, “So what?”
He sarcastically answered, “It leaves marks on the wall.”
“They wipe off with a damp rag. It’s not a permanent mark; so wipe it all off, if it bugs you, ” I angrily retorted.
I couldn’t let this go. I had to escalate the situation. It wasn’t fair. The mercy I had been extending to him wasn’t being returned. “I hate it when you use a kleenex once and leave it sitting on a surface to be used again. It’s not sanitary, but rather than remind you, I throw it away and then wash my hands.” I went on to give him several other examples of my long suffering as his wife, of all the grace I had been extending to him, the grace he was not returning.
A few days later, I became convicted that my behavior and attitudes were not fitting for a wife who follows Jesus. Rather than giving mercy away because I would like to receive it, I was giving mercy to get mercy. My motive was impure, self-seeking. I remembered the words from I Corinthians 13 about love not keeping a record of wrongs. I had been ignoring behaviors, but wasn’t being able to list them quickly in a heated moment, evidence that I had been keeping a record of wrongs, evidence I was not loving my husband?
Next time, with the Spirit’s help, I hope I will say to my husband, “I’m sorry. I will wipe the water off the wall.”
Father, thank you for showing me my lack of mercy, my lack of love. Forgive me. Please make me like your Son, Jesus. Amen.