Last week my friend Jim suggested that I start writing about giving care. So it got me thinking – what does it mean to give care to someone? I’ve done a lot of looking into spiritual gifts, and a long time ago I came to the conclusion that mercy is not a gift that I possess. I tend to get drained by the prospect of caring for others. I have a limited capacity to give of myself to those in need, especially if my logical side kicks in and I start debating in my head about whether or not the person “deserves” to be cared for in the first place.
But then my husband preached about the Hebrew word for mercy, hessid. I don’t know Hebrew nor have I personally studied the word, but the gist of it seems to be total loving kindness, giving up of oneself for another, sacrificial love, and it signifies a marriage relationship. I don’t claim to be someone who is able to perfectly show that kind of mercy to my husband. I’m sure there are days when he would argue that I show absolutely no mercy to him, especially when my hormones are running high. But while I am a sinful, impatient human being, I can see that there are glimmers of this kind of mercy. Not because of me, but because of God working through me in my marriage.
Last night, Travis was stressed. So I rubbed his hands to help him overcome some of that stress, and it seemed to help. Just a small gesture, and not one that I will remember to repeat the next time, knowing me. But that is an element of mercy.
I don’t think I will ever be the kind of person who can shower mercy on a stranger. I spent two years working at a not-for-profit ministry that helps low income families and was severely burned out by the time I quit. But God is working in me every day to show mercy towards my husband, which is what the intent behind hessid is, anyway.