Mercy – Week of September 14, 2020

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2

She wipes her eyes over and over again. The tears don’t seem to stop. She is crying so hard that she can barely get the words out. “I’m……… sorry.” She struggles to make eye contact with you as she waits for your response. She knows it was wrong and she is so very sorry. You quietly say to her, “I forgive you.” As the words slowly sink in and she sees the gentle look on your face, she eventually calms to hiccups. “Really?” she asks. “Really,” you respond.

You can’t believe you’ve done it again. You’ve let the sharp words fly out and wound a colleague. You see the hurt in their eyes, but you add to it all with justification in your mind for what you’ve just said. “I’m only saying what is true. I can’t help it if they can’t take it.” Later, as you reflect on your day, you realize the likely impact of your words. The guilt floods over you.

Mercy. What a simple word with a powerful impact. I’ve heard it defined as “not getting what you deserve.” What do you and I deserve? Think of the many, many times you’ve been impatient with a young child. Think of the many, many times that you spoke harshly to another adult. Think of the many, many times that you criticized someone when they weren’t around. Think of the many, many times you were jealous, greedy, or lazy. What do you and I deserve in God’s eyes?

You look to him and you see mercy. Don’t get me wrong. God’s standards and expectations are perfection and you and I fail at that constantly. But when you and I look at him, we see and hear mercy because of Jesus. Jesus said to his Father, “I’ll take her punishment because I love her.” Mercy.

Each time you are tempted to be impatient, harsh, unkind, jealous, greedy, lazy, ungrateful, look at his mercy for you. Focus on his mercy. Be overwhelmed by his mercy. Let that mercy be your motivation to reach out in kindness to others, to defend others, to forgive each other, to reflect his mercy in your life each day. Let the mercy he shows to you, lead you to want to do God’s will.
“I forgive you,” God says to us. “Really?”, we ask. “Really. You are forgiven because of Jesus,” God says to us. Live each day wrapped in that love, that forgiveness, that mercy.

Prayer:
Take the world, but give me Jesus!
In his cross my trust shall be till with clearer, brighter vision face to face my Lord I see.
Oh, the height and depth of mercy;
Oh, the length and breadth of love!
Oh, the fullness of redemption, pledge of endless life above!
Christian Worship 355:3

A Question to Consider: Sometimes a visual reminder can be very helpful. Some people use notes on the mirror, the refrigerator, the dashboard. What are ways that you can keep God’s mercy for you in view as a constant reminder?

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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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