by Pepper Martin
At Ranch, this past summer a fellow captain from New York said to me something he had heard, “home is where you go when you are tired of being nice to people.” I shared this with my Exodus 90 group this past weekend and it got quite a chuckle out of everyone. The reason why it was so funny is because often it is so true. Sadly. But what if “being nice” was actually being merciful and patient with people, and when we go home to “quit being nice” we’re really going into our homes without mercy? Are we imaging a merciful father to our family when we do that?
I regularly confess being unkind and impatient with my family. That might sound like a mundane kind of thing to a regular person, but it bothers me to think that I can muster up so much patience for coworkers and strangers and leave next to nothing left for my family sometimes. I have gotten better about when I do lose patience or my temper to apologize and acknowledge the fault that I showed. I am better than that. As a man, I ask myself, “how would my kids describe me if they were asked, tell me about your dad?” I would hope that I would be a man of virtue, which means I would be a man of gentleness and strength – a gentleman – but if they just get the leftovers of me, what do I expect?
I have cultivated a habit of praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily. This has helped me quite a bit in remembering that God shows mercy to those that are merciful. Mercy comes from the Latin word (misericordia) which means to see someone in their misery, their suffering. God can see us in our struggles and in our misery. May we hope in the Lord and trust that he will show us mercy.
If God is merciful, then fathers, who draw their nature from God (Eph. 3:15), must be merciful. We can’t expend ourselves in the world and give our home only what is left, only the functional and discipline. We must treat them as they ought to be treated in justice and charity. Men, go home as a man of mercy, not wrath.
“Be not hasty in thy tongue: and slack and remiss in thy works. Be not as a lion in thy house, terrifying them of thy household, and oppressing them that are under thee” (Sirach 4:34-35).