A boy with a badly disfigured face was the target of many unkind remarks. One day he said to his mother, “I hate people.” Realizing he had become despondent, she took him to a canyon and told him to shout, “I hate you!” The echo came back, “I hate you!” Then she told him to call out, “I love you!” The echo came back, “I love you!” His mother explained that usually we receive from people what we first send out.

There is a sense in which that’s also true in our relationship with God. He, of course, takes the initiative in salvation, yet man chooses how he will be dealt with by God. Psalm 18 says that God shows Himself merciful to the merciful, and to the devious He shows Himself shrewd (never deceitfully but to foil man’s evil designs).

If God seems distant, perhaps we’ve distanced ourselves from Him, or from others. If He seems uncaring, maybe we’ve grown hard toward others. But the opposite is also true. He is merciful to those who are sincere, depend on the Savior’s mercy, and reach out to others. Bible commentator Richard Steele writes, “If you will echo to Him when He calls, He will echo to you when you call.”

What echoes are we creating?