One of the most basic needs in any healthy relationships is forgiveness.
I know this because I am often the recipient of this kind act of mercy.
Friendships that were once so strong and beautiful can quickly become ugly and messy. People who were once madly in love can say the most hideous things about one another. I only need to read the front cover of a magazine at any check out stand and see that people who once were verbal about their intense love for one another are now making ,malicious accusations against their partner.
Bottom line for me is I can always "feel" love when the other person is treating me the way I desire. The question lies not in whether I will love someone who loves me but will I extend compassion, love and forgiveness when the other person may not seem to deserve it?
In Luke 6 we read:
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Does that seem strange to you? It goes against my flesh. My own thinking says , "if they won't pay me back it is not wise to lend it". How many times have I said, "I don't want to be taken advantage of", so I justify my way, whether it's financially or relationally.
"He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked". Not just to the good and pleasing, but the moochers and mockers!
Anyone can love those who are easy to love. The question becomes am I willing to love those who are prickly and cold. Who stink and talk nasty. Who don't return my affections. Who hurt my feelings. Who do not think like I think. Who will not move me up the social or economic success ladder.
I show mercy simply because I am the king's daughter and his ambassador here on earth.
I love out of the love I have been given.
So I ask myself this:
How am I doing?
Who around me needs my compassion today?
Am I willing to listen and act?