“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being “care-full”, you find yourself cared for.” Matthew 5:7 (MSG)
Seems to me this beatitude walks hand-in-hand with the golden rule. Choosing an attitude of caring invokes a double blessing. When we care for others they receive the gift of compassion. And in sharing the gift, a tenfold blessing of heartfelt fulfillment boomerangs our direction.
In parenting, we often pour out much more than we seem to receive. Most days we give and give some more without feeling restored and restored some more. All the caring breeds exhaustion and feeling cared for can be lost on us.
Years passed before I realized the true reward of caring comes later. When our kids grow up, the fruits of our labor bloom on the vine of their independence. The sweetness reminds us how much God cared for us along the way. Though we may not have felt the love at every step, the delayed gratification outweighs any lack when our kids were young.
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being “care-full”, you find yourself cared for.”
The traditional verbiage of the 5th Beatitude states, “Blessed are those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” If we desire forgiveness for our faults from God and our fellow man, we best bleed from a merciful heart towards others. How care-full we are depends on how much grace, mercy, compassion, love we extend.
For any loving parent, honest caring comes easy. We adore, nurture, protect our kids by default. But how we handle our children’s mistakes, failures, annoyances sets the temperature on our mercy barometer.
Are we inflexible, intolerant, impatient, unforgiving? Or do we extend grace by choosing to care about our child’s heart more than admonishing their actions? Hard questions.
Moms are caring in general. But being merciful to the point of fullness when circumstances leave us frazzled and forlorn is difficult and challenging.
Sometimes I just don’t care how I’m acting because I feel justified based on my kids provocation. Which is likely attributed to my tendency to focus on the sawdust in their eyes while overlooking the Sequoia in my own. Ugh.
I expected my young children to use their words properly even when my mouth was still unchained as an adult. I often became impatient and unforgiving with my teens for their rebellion, only to disobey God by choosing to let the sun go down on my anger.
In these moments I failed to be care-full, choosing instead to be care-less about the wellbeing of the other person and the state of my soul. Many blessings were missed as a result.
Jesus shakes the mercy tree even further from the same Sermon on the Mount,
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Luke 6:38 (MSG)
Caring for others begets caring from God. If we care to the point of fullness, God’s love within us will overflow to those around us. The payback is the blessing of being cared for even if we can’t feel or see the gift.
“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” Luke 6:38 (MSG)
At least when we stuff ourselves to the brim with caring we don’t gain any weight. Amen to spiritual diets and the rewards they reap.
C.S. Lewis captures caring best, “The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.”