Tag Archives: mercy

The Trio: Coworker Coexistence

trio of chairs

image courtesy of satit_srihin at freedigitalphotos.net

Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. (Romans 12:6, The Message)

I struggled with which of the Trio to begin with because I have a lot to say about each of them. However, I’m starting with the coworker, because though I met him last of the three, he is the first one who influenced me deeply.

The Introduction

Coworker and I met on my first day on the job. I knew from the first moment we met that he was a mercy gift; I actually told my friend that my coworker was a mercy male, and I knew it was going to be difficult. He is my age—we graduated the same year, but he is already in a high ranking government position, making hand-over-fist money-wise, and one of the smartest people I know in his area of expertise. One time, he was talking shop in my office, and I thought, “wow, this guy is smart, good-looking, and wealthy–what is wrong with him?”

I quickly found out: he lacks identity in Jesus.

Within one week of working with him, I could tell that my coworker was rebelling against his mercy gifting. I could see it in his lack of compassion for others; the way he shuts everyone out, the way he refuses to let anyone care for him at all; the way he treats the people who work for him, the almost robotic nature of his relationships with others; the way he wraps his identity in his job; the rumors about his sexuality. I could see the struggles he was having, even though he tried to hide them.

The Involvement

I began praying for him and speaking very heavily into his identity as a mercy male. I wrote him notes to thank him for showing generosity and to encourage the compassion within him that I knew was there. We had a bit of a dispute—which is NOT the mercy’s strong point, as they just can’t deal with the emotions of conflict—and I made it a point to come into the office on the weekend, when I knew I could catch him, to talk the issue out with him. He hugged me (something that no one in our office has ever experienced, EVER), and we resolved the issue. I spoke life-giving words to him whenever I could, and my other coworkers noted that even they noticed the difference in him.

But after six months of praying fervently for him and speaking into his identity, I stopped. I found myself dealing with feelings for him that I did not want to have. I struggled so badly and felt so despondent about the experience that I asked a friend to take over the prayers and I pulled back from him significantly. And I watched much of the positive changes in him fade away.

During these last six months, I have seen him become even more withdrawn, argumentative, and wholly focused on himself. He has distanced himself from staff without reason and refuses to engage them when asked. He recently said that he could “take care of himself, because he had been doing so his entire life, and he didn’t need anyone.” And even worse, as I have not prayed for him, I have seen my own heart harden towards him.

The Importance

Praying is imperative, and one of the things that I said I was going to do for the mercy male, regardless of what else I felt led to do, was pray for them. And one reminder I gave myself was, “what if I’m the only person in this entire world that is praying for him?” I don’t know that his parents are Christians, and he doesn’t have many friends. So pondering that question drives home to me the importance of bringing him before the Lord. But I’m also under this realization: prayer is not sovereign; God is sovereign. God doesn’t need me or my prayers to work in my coworker’s life. God needs me to pray so that I can cultivate a better relationship with Him and become more like Him in my daily interactions with everyone, including and perhaps especially with my coworker. I want to see him walking in His God-given identity as a mercy gift, and doing so cheerfully (Romans 12:8). I want Him to know the Lord as I do.

I was worried that I was getting too close to my coworker through my prayers. Now, instead of worrying, I am learning the importance of trusting the Lord to protect my heart as I fulfill His directive to pray. And though he doesn’t know it, I have my coworker to thank for this invaluable lesson.

Breaking Bad: The Purpose

image courtesy of sattva / freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of sattva / freedigitalphotos.net

Maybe you’re wondering how this all fits together.

My original desire to break bad, which erupted after a difficult year, led to a crisis of conscience in many ways. Quite honestly, for those six weeks, I was perfectly fine with falling back into all those (lust) sins that so easily entangle. It can be difficult being single in today’s world, especially as part of the church. I’m not one of those single Christian women who is going to sugarcoat how hard it is by telling you that I quote Bible verses that keep me going and bring me back on track. It just doesn’t happen all of the time. Sometimes, Scripture consoles me and brings me understanding and wisdom. But when it comes to my purity and singleness struggles, I find very little solace in the Word. I’m not afraid to admit that, because I think God meets me in my honesty. In addition, Christians in general are terrible at comforting singles. Save for one, my married friends are collectively the most terrible people in the world at understanding my single girl struggles. It’s like they forgot what it’s like to be single in a sex-crazed world. Friends who have been married only a couple of years—and who three years ago were crying next to me—have taken up spouting verses and Christian idioms at me when I struggle with remaining pure and being good. So I have stopped confiding in them about my issues, because even when I tell them nicely that they’re not helping, they still fall back on those outdated practices.

Save for one. There is that one married Christian woman who helped to bring me back from the edge of breaking bad. She listened. She cried with me. She shared her own struggles with loneliness in her marriage—not to distract or compare, but to share that she struggles, too. And she never once shared a Bible verse or beat me down with the Bible—she only promised to pray for me and to encourage me. And I know that she did—because the day I confided in her about wanting to be bad and cried with her about being single and the day she began to pray for me is the day I met God in a worship song as I cried over Chris Evans’ mercy soul.

You see, there’s this delicate balance between our sin struggles, God’s grace, and our calling. I think, in many ways, that breaking bad is where much of our PureID™ is formed and found. Our sin struggles are where God meets us, where He talks to us about our identity as He is purifying us, where He places a call on our lives to bring others to Him in specific ways. It’s where He begins the refining process, even if we’re not ready. I’m not “fine” with my sin anymore—but I’m also not beating myself up about it like I used to. In essence, I think I’m beginning to understand grace more simply by being broken for the mercy male.

I wish I could tell you what this means for me and mercy males—but I don’t know. Here’s what I do know: I know that I haven’t quite broken bad yet. I am still struggling with daydreaming and lust. But for the first time in the midst of this struggle, I have felt the Lord draw closer to me. I’ve had the Spirit intercede for me with words and groans that I don’t understand. And last night, I prayed in depth for all the mercy males I’ve known in my life, and I prayed for the ones I don’t know—like Chris Evans. After I finished, I tried to fall asleep but couldn’t for three miserable hours—and God tenderly let me know that it was because I wasn’t finished praying for them. Once I did (at 12:30 a.m.!), sleep came easily.

I want to know what’s next in my calling to the mercy male more than anyone. But I believe wholeheartedly in Luke 16:10, which says that whoever is faithful in the little things will be faithful in the large things. I also believe in the parable of the talent, that when God entrusts us with something—small or large, He is the one who will multiply it, if we are faithful and we trust Him. And though it isn’t “little” at all, I think that, right now, my job is simply to pray and intercede for the mercy male—all of them, some of them, one of them. Where that leads next, I don’t know. But I now know that if you allow God to work even amidst your greatest sins and struggles, your breaking bad can lead to His greater good.

Breaking Bad: The Introduction

image courtesy of akeeris / freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of akeeris / freedigitalphotos.net

I think that, after that last blog, it’s really important for me to talk about the mercy male in general and who he is. Otherwise, when I say things like, “mercy males really struggle,” you aren’t going to have a clue what I mean.

I’ve blogged about the spiritual gifts before (read about mercy gift here), but it was short and sweet, just to give you an indication about each gift. But I want to go into the mercy male in depth—in what might even be a longer blog than normal because…I’ve always been a bit inclined towards the mercy male. Ever since I started studying spiritual gifts, I have believed that there isn’t enough research and study on the mercy male. While the mercy qualities extend to mercy-gifted females as well, because this post is about the mercy male, I’m only going to refer to males. It’s because mercy males are so beautiful and intricate, and yet so misunderstood and probably struggle more than any other gift.

I don’t want to cover every single characteristic of the mercy gift here—there are many. But I do want to focus on enough of them that you understand who mercy males are. So allow me to introduce you to the mercy male:

Mercy males are those guys that you can talk to about anything. They are highly sensitive and beautifully emotional, and thus, they attract tons of female friends and usually have very few male friends. In fact, though they have a large number of acquaintances, they find connection with only a select few. They don’t like conflict and get along with everyone—they rarely have enemies. They want to make everyone comfortable at all times—make sure everyone is having a good time. They really like connecting with others, but not just a surface connection: they long for deep, intimate connections with others—intimacy of soul as well as physical touch. They desire hugs and physical contact. In other words, these are the kind of guys that need to be friends with their exes.

Mercy males want to talk about their feelings, but they must be given time to process those feelings. Mercy males actually receive and process information uniquely–a free-flow, circular expression as opposed to the logic-driven, left-brained other gifts. They need a lot of processing time for several reasons: first, mercy gifts process everything through their emotions, which takes longer. In addition, they don’t like hurting people at all—so they will take their time making decisions to make sure they’re not choosing sides or causing pain to anyone involved. Thanks to their detailed emotional processing, they also have deeper and better understanding, insight, and wisdom than the other gifts. And yet, so many times I have seen a truth in a mercy’s life, and I have said it, only to have a mercy come back to me MONTHS later and say, “Remember when you said…” They can’t be pressed for information they haven’t fully processed yet…and still, they always are.

Most mercy males are incredibly artistic and creative (Hollywood is full of mercy males!), whether it is music, art, dance, cooking, performing, or even all of the above. This is partially due to their free-flowing expressive nature and combines beautifully with the way they receive and process emotionally. (Chris Evans, by the way, is an actor—and a dancer, and a musician, and an artist, and a director.) This is not to say that all artists and creative men are mercy males, nor does it imply that mercy males are only artists and musicians, etc. Instead, the mercy male can be found anywhere from the business world to the auto shop to the tech field. I know a mercy male who is an incredibly talented mechanic…this is because mercy gifts have an incredible understanding of how the parts work together to make the whole, and they bring alignment where things are “out of whack.” This mercy mechanic brings his creativity and expressive nature into his work every day and produces an incredible product for his customers. Mercy males are given this creativity and eye for beauty for specific reasons in the church—worship. Worship is crucial and worship is in the mercy DNA.

Mercy males may feel shunned in a society that expects men to dominate everything. In fact, most mercy males don’t even want to be mercy males. They may accept facets of their gift (like sensitivity) but many desire the more “manly” gifts like prophet or administrator. I once had a mercy male tell me that he wanted my prophet gift—he wanted to be bold and to have my decisiveness. He wanted those things because our society has told mercy males that they are not manly enough. He had struggled his entire life with having his sexuality questioned, simply because he was a mercy gift.

And that’s the plight of the mercy male. How do they deal with all these emotions they have and having to process everything through those emotions? How do they deal with the sensitivity, the emotional burden they often “bear” for others? How do they deal with the need for physical touch and intimacy? How do they deal with these seemingly “female” characteristics in a world yelling at them to be more “manly”? Having been built for worship of God, how do mercy males deal with the need to worship and connect with the Lord–especially if they don’t know Him? Unfortunately, too many mercy males deal with their gift in unhealthy ways. They are often left with deep anxiety that transcends what the other gifts may know or understand—anxiety from not knowing how to deal with their large emotional capacity, anxiety over how to deal with the expectations society has for them that does not take into account their incredible gifting. They struggle with sexuality in many different ways—homosexuality, excessive promiscuity, extreme sexual practices to fill the need for physical touch and intimacy. They suffer from substance abuse issues more than any other gift—substances to numb the emotions and pain they don’t want or understand, to help them be “more like” the other six gifts and think logically. They struggle with identity issues more than any other gift—wanting to be someone they are not. They feel misunderstood more than any other gift—because they haven’t connected in worship with their true Creator who understands them completely and designed them to be exactly as they are. The struggle is real for mercy males.

I’ve consistently asked God to break my heart for the things that break His, and this time, God has obliged. This time, my heart is breaking bad for the mercy male.

Motivation: Compassion

Compassion-Logo

image courtesy of Schulstiftung (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Mercy: the crown jewel of the motivational gifts. Why are they the crown jewel of the gifts? Because the mercy is wired to the heart of God, not the mind of God (as the other six gifts are). Mercies are often caught up in the battle of pleasing God or pleasing man because they are so compassionate that they do not want to hurt people by making decisions or confronting sin. However, they are predisposed to worship and can connect with God immediately without hesitation (I love to watch this happen with my mercy friends!). Mercy gifts are a safe place for wounded people and they can often sense who is wounded and hurting in a group of people. Mercy gifts are often attracted to prophets because prophets are bold and fearless, and prophets desperately need the softening influence of the mercy gift (I am always surrounded by mercy gifts!).

You may not be wired like them, but here are a few ways you can connect with a mercy gift:

  • Give your mercy friends time to process. This is probably the most important present you can give to your mercy friends. They will not process things at the same rate that you do. The mercy gift requires even more time to process than the teacher because mercies are processing everything through their emotions. You may not understand this, but you should respect it. Your mercy friend may come up to you three months later and say, “Remember when you said…well, you were right.” If this happens, simply remember that they were processing that the entire time!
  • Give your mercy friends appropriate physical contact. More than any other gift, the mercy craves intimacy—not just soul contact, but physical contact in the form of hugs and touch. The apostle John was a great example of a mercy gift—he not only referred to himself as “the disciple that Jesus loved” but he also needed physical contact with him (he laid on Jesus’ breast during the Last Supper). Please be careful and notice that I said APPROPRIATE physical contact! Please do not allow yourself to become attached to a mercy gift based on physical contact; their need for physical contact can too often lead to inappropriate behavior, especially interactions between the opposite sex. Help your mercy friends to receive their physical contact in holy, God-honoring ways.
  • Give your mercy friends a push towards excellence. In their battle between pleasing God and pleasing man, mercies may get wrapped up in the emotions of others instead of the Lord. I have experienced this in churches where there is a mercy pastor who often wraps himself in loyalty and takes up offenses for his family. Pleasing man instead of God can mire the mercy gift in mediocrity. Help them get wrapped up in the Lord like John did in Revelation: it will help them to deliver hard messages with compassion while staying faithful to God’s will for them!

The beauty of the mercy gift—of all the gifts—is found in their differences. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) and the mercy is living proof of that.

What are some other ways you can encourage mercy gifts to walk in the beauty of their gifting?