(October 29, 2007)

Yesterday our pastor ended his sermon by talking about a beautiful Hebrew word for which there is no single English word. “Hesed” can be variously translated as “loving kindness”, “steadfast love”, “loyal devotion”, “mercy.” Hesed is descriptive of God’s relationship with his people as well as relationships among people. God’s steadfast love (hesed) towards people places them in a new relationship with each other shaped by the same love they have experienced from God. Hesed is Christ-like love.

Micah 6:8 says “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy (“hesed”) and to walk humbly with your God.”

God calls us to live a life that exceeds the requirements that the law, social standards – and even God – places on us. He calls us to walk humbly with God and to reflect God’s character. Hesed is both an attitude and the action that grows out of that attitude. It describes God’s love for his people. Out of that hesed, God says “no matter who you are or what you do, I’m going to love you anyway, I’m going to redeem you anyway.” It’s unconditional love.

The pastor’s notes say that “ordinary people become part of something bigger than themselves as they live faithfully by this standard.”

I have a good friend who lives a lifestyle marked by hesed. She works wonders in the lives of people she touches. She has worked wonders in my life. In treating me with God’s steadfast love, she has taught me what Christ’s love is truly like. She and the spirit of God within her have inspired me to try and live likewise.

God’s spirit has been within me since I became a Christian, but I have not always responded to his promptings to the extent I could have. My friend has been a mentor to me, helping me live with more abundant hesed. And this has changed me.

My mental health has never been as stable. I have never felt as fulfilled. I’m doing the work God made me to do and it all came from my new God-given lifestyle of hesed. Thank God for what he’s done for me and where he’s brought me.