One of the treasures of Scripture is that there is a place in it for all of life. It isn’t just filled with faith and praise; it is interwoven with doubt and desperation. It echoes experiences of real joy, but also the reality of being totally fed up. Disgusted enough to respond with a fist raised to the sky calling down woe upon the oppressor.

While that particular expression may be foreign in Western culture, the feeling certainly isn’t foreign to any of us. We know the sense of outrage against those who seem totally concerned with the trivia of the law but devoid of responses of real mercy. What I am working on in my life is trying to let my “woe to you” moments not end in a sense of self-righteous judgment, but to be a source of renewed energy for being more merciful myself.

God, help us to grow in mercy ourselves as we cry out against the burdening of others.

Patricia Livingston

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