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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Today’s Reading | Psalm 103

Praise the Lord, my soul;
  all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
  and forget not all his benefits—
  who forgives all your sins
  and heals all your diseases,
  who redeems your life from the pit
  and crowns you with love and compassion,
  who satisfies your desires with good things
  so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
   and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
   his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
   slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
   nor will he harbor his anger forever;
   he does not treat us as our sins deserve
   or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
   so great is his love for those who fear him;
   as far as the east is from the west,
  so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
   so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
   for he knows how we are formed,
   he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
   they flourish like a flower of the field;
   the wind blows over it and it is gone,
   and its place remembers it no more.

But from everlasting to everlasting
   the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
   and his righteousness with their children’s children—
   with those who keep his covenant
  and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
   and his kingdom rules over all.

Praise the Lord, you his angels, 
   you mighty ones who do his bidding,
   who obey his word.
Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
   you his servants who do his will.
Praise the Lord, all his works
   everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul. (NIV)

 Reflection

He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

In reading this psalm, I am particularly struck by those two verses. I am by nature a stubborn person; I like to prove my point a little more than I should, and I just recently had a conversation with someone during which there was a strong disagreement. In those moments, there are two options to take: listen and acknowledge the other person’s feelings, or stand your ground.

I must say that since becoming a manager, my tendency to argue my point has lessened tremendously. There is an art to active listening. I am a big fan of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday on OWN Sunday nights. Recently Pico Iyer was a guest and spoke about the importance of stillness in one’s life, and at the end of the interview Oprah asked him, “What does the world need more of”? His response was “more understanding,” and I found that to be very poignant. He went onto explain that many times people feel frustrated and react with anger or hurt because there is a lack of understanding.

I think about how patient God is with us when we harbor anger toward him and how patiently he listens to everything I bear. God does mot “repay us according to our iniquities,” so what right do we have to do that to others? The moment I choose to put my own anger and hurt aside, I have chosen to follow the path of understanding, one of God’s greatest gifts.

Prayer
Lord, on this day you have presented before me, help me to choose understanding first and foremost so that decisions I make to express your love harbor no records of right or wrong but a complete understanding of forgiveness and mercy. In your name. Amen.

Written by Ashley Elskus, Director, Center for Life and Learning


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