I hate to admit it, but the older I get the more I see my father when I look in the mirror. I’m 65, he passed away at 64. I can remember the way he yawned. I yawn like that. I remember the way he carried a handkerchief and would blow his nose with one hand because he was always busy with the other. I find myself doing that also. I hear my dad laugh when I laugh. He had a weird sense of humor. Some say I have one too! My friend and my dad’s cousin, Mary Ellen, told me the last time I saw her that I remind her of my dad. She lived next door to Dad as they grew up on 47th and Seward and new him all her life. She said that she’d know just by looking at me that I was Chuck’s kid. The family resemblance was undeniable. Even though he wasn’t perfect I still liked being told I am like my father in some ways.

As sons and daughters of our heavenly father it’s not the physical appearance that identifies us as God’s offspring. It’s the way we live. The greatest characteristic that identifies us as children of God is that, like God, our relationships with others are characterized by mercy and grace. In Luke 6:35, Jesus tells us to “love our enemies.” You might remember that “love” in the Bible is often referring to “actions” rather than feelings. It is used that way in this passage. It’s how we treat others who have hurt us, offended us, or otherwise deserve some sort of retaliation. When we are gracious we identify with God’s character. We do what God does. We treat others as God treats us. We are “like God” in a moral, family sense. That’s how we distinguish ourselves as God’s children. In the preceding passage of Luke Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.”

Grace and Mercy in our relationships with others is what marks us as children of God. Even the sinners of the world give back what they get in life, but only God’s children give good when the get something bad! Mercy and grace go together. Mercy is when you do not get the judgment that you deserve, and grace takes it a step further in that instead of getting retaliation, we do something good for another. In the passage following “love your enemies” Jesus says, “… and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36).

For all the previous devotions go to www.chucklarsen.com