Compassion on the road from Jerusalem

Father, teach me to reflect Your mercy, to pray
understandingly. I know so many words and say
them often, hoping they'll help someone, somewhere.
But teach me how to come near
to reach them where they are.
Don't let me be blinded
by judging them difficult, bad-tempered, hard
so I can't see how deep their longing to be understood.

It's there, in the dust
of past failures, of charisma gone sour,
of trust in some thieving power
that's stripped them of self-confidence; right there
is where binding-up is needed—
the shared cup of understanding, the warm
word of appreciation that's balm
to wounded sensibilities.

Father, in their hour of half-extinguished hope
Yours is the power, the lifting up
that brings them to the inn—
the secret place wherein
Your ministering love heals
all their hardness, and in its stead reveals
another self with no condemnatory scar
to mar the innocency of this
newborn consciousness.
teach me to reflect Your mercy.

Nancy L. Holder

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Evidence—how do you recognize it?
May 29, 1989

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