I am not sure how we arrived at this place. The insensitivity and premature dismissal of others with whom we disagree has been intensified in the last two years of social isolation. There has been a grind taking place where our relational cartilage has worn away causing us to become bone-on-bone in our interactions with each other.
In a time of social isolation, we can become more insensitive than usual. We haven’t seen some people except by an image provided on a computer screen or a facial fragment hidden behind a mask. We have lost a sense of personal and open interaction. This decline is accelerated by easy access to social media where we can share our impulsive thoughts without processing the impact of our words. Or maybe, it has always been there but was able to hide beneath the surface of our relationships until a time of stress forced it to the top for all to see. The Lord is giving us an opportunity to heal our shared brokenness.
So many opinions about so many issues are being freely tossed around. It is too easy to feel like we must correct everything. Each undisciplined response we offer, every callous word we speak wears away a bit more of the cartilage that acted as a buffer before our relationships became so distant and stressed. Our relationships can become permanently crippled if we forget one thing.
The only remedy for this crippled condition is to allow the Lord – the Surgeon of Heaven – to insert His mercy between the joints of our broken relationships so we can walk once again in fellowship with each other, even if we might be in disagreement on certain issues. God’s mercy is what brought us into a relationship with Him on the day of our salvation. In those times when we fell away from the Lord, it was His mercy that invited us back as returning prodigals. Mercy is everything.
Instead of offering yet another correction to what we perceive as a disjointed opinion or comment, we should offer the pause of mercy. Mercy will read a comment a second time or ask someone to repeat something to make sure we really do understand what was said. If a question or challenge is needed, they are best-done one-on-one in private as an expression of honor to the one with whom we disagree. It is always better to allow someone to self-announce their mistake instead of making something public that should have been first examined in private.
Mercy is the only buffer that can heal and restore broken relationships. It should always be our first offering, especially when we don’t feel like offering mercy, only correction.