Mercy in our Relationships

This article is authored by +Fr. Nicholas Louh with Commentary following from Paula Marchman, MA, LAPC:

“Do not judge, for you too will be judged.” Matthew 7:1

Friends, everyday we have opportunities to judge people. We judge people on the way they look, what they wear, the way they act, where they live, their faith. Instead of looking at people through a loving eye, instead of being merciful, we sometimes look at people through judging and critical eyes. Some people, all they do is try to find faults in other people. But friends, don’t let that be you.

I want to share with you an important principle on this Wednesday and tell you that your job is not to judge people, it is not to be critical of people. Your job is not to find faults and then go and tell five of your friends. No, your job is simple… it is to love people.

Take for example a parent. A parent loves their child, takes care of their child, and would not want anyone to say anything about them. How then must God feel when people judge, condemn, and make fun of His children? It hurts God greatly. No one is perfect and with the same measure of mercy you show others, is the same mercy God will show you. Friends, go out today realizing that God does not desire for us to have a judging spirit, but rather a Godly spirit. He doesn’t want us to look at others with a judging eye, but a merciful eye.

COMMENTARY:

Fr. Nick writes that God wants us, His children, to look at others with a “merciful eye”. It seems to me this mercy should start in our own homes first! I find I am using the word “merciful” more than usual in couple therapy sessions.

As human beings we desire respect and validation as distinct individuals yet we also recognize we need the safety of belonging, the basic need of feeling secure. In our Orthodox faith we know that the sacrament of marriage is our path to salvation and we commit to helping each other on this journey. So how important is it to treat each other first with a positive perspective and kindness.  Realizing that we too are not perfect. In humility, we relate to our spouse as we want them to treat us.

So today what does mercy look like in your marriage?

Focus in on how you are connecting with your spouse today. Is it in kindness and harmony?  Do you take the time to pray together, to honor each other with dedicated time to talk and truly listen respectfully to each other’s perspective? Do you know how your spouse feels appreciated by you? Do they know how you feel loved and respected by them? Take time to write 10 ways that you each feel appreciated and loved by the other and trade lists. Everyday this week do one thing on your spouse’s list.

Watch your relationship blossom!!!! Warmly, Paula Marchman

Rev. Dr. Nicholas G. Lough is the Parish Priest for St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, Florida.
Paula Marchman is an Orthodox Christian Counselor and serves as Co-Chairman of the Family Life Ministry under the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta.