A few years back I was pondering what values I truly believe in. I identified what makes me the most angry and what brings me the most joy. Those two answers will quickly help to determine what you value most. It is an exercise I highly recommend. Identifying your top 3-5 core values brings clarity to who you are. It both confirms and affirms what you stand for. What I realized is that I truly believe in mercy and justice and honor and power. But I also realized it is love that perfects them all.
Take mercy. Mercy is an internal disposition to show compassion. It rises up from your heart to affect your thinking and emotions. When people are hungry, mercy says to feed them. When people come against you, mercy forgives. Mercy sits with people and gives out compassion when others are long gone. Mercy does for others what they don’t deserve. Mercy turns a judgment into a blessing, and triumphs over judgment.
In like manner I analyzed the other values. Justice treats others fairly and appreciates them properly. Honor shows respect and esteem to others. And power, a value that surprised me, is not about control, but rather the ability or authority to do what is needed.
So what does love have to do with these? Can you imagine mercy without love? You would be walked on, worn out, used, and abused. Love sets healthy boundaries. What about justice? Love keeps justice from shifting to judgment. Honor? Love requires us to take a look at the attributes of all people, not just the ones we like. As a matter of fact, I have been intentional lately to look for the good things in people I don’t necessarily like…and point them out. Love looks for ways to make a difference. And power. Love helped me realize that I have no reason to fear power. Love helped me see certain abilities, and authority, that allow me to take action where it is needed for others or myself. Love reminded me of my responsibility. Love disassembled my faulty view of humility and reminded me that true humility bows its knee to the uncomfortable. It says “Yes” to the authority we have been given. “Yes” to the abilities we have to make a difference. “Yes” to power that is pure. Love shapes the form of every value.
So for those of you who have received emails from me, you now have context for my tag line: “I believe in mercy and justice and honor and power, and I believe love perfects them all.” You also have an invitation to define your own core values.
So what about you? What are your core values? What do you believe in? Take a few minutes and identify what makes you most angry, and what brings you the most joy. You will begin to get clarity on your values, and I would love to know what they are! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And have an amazing week!