He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
It is evident that humans were not created as happy puppets forced by the hand of God to be loving. We are instead created with freedom to love God and others on our own terms. With this freedom, God is well aware of our tendency to live towards distraction, brokenness, weariness, and separateness. God sends people into our lives to bring us back from the errors of our ways. Sometimes it is a gentle reminder of truth, other times we come face to face with strong consequences of our behavior. Either way, confrontation causes us to make a decision to continue on a path away from God or return fully to the God we love.
So this leaves those of us who have been restored to God with this question: If God is merciful with us and gives us many opportunities to start over again, should we not have the same gift to offer those in our families, close friends, and neighbors? Why is it so difficult to extend unmerited favor to those around us when we have clearly received it for ourselves over and over and over again?
Spend some time thinking about people whose encounter makes you want to run in the opposite direction; people at work, people in your neighborhood, even those in your own family. Perhaps in your time of worshiping the LORD and praying, ask God to reveal an un-mended relationship that simply needs you to deliver the mercy of God. Make a list of these people this week and ask God to give you courage and boldness to speak with them. Ask God to direct your steps for interaction. And then have the courage to follow where God is leading.