Thursday, 10 December 2015
M - Mercy
There are so many facets to mercy.
I know that God extends much mercy to me daily. I am grateful that His mercies are new every morning because every day I need them. I hope to never take His mercy for granted, and having said that, I probably do not appreciate His mercy for me nearly as much as I should.
Another facet to mercy is the mercy we extend to others. Are we gracious with others when they mess up? Or when they annoy us? Or if they do things differently from how we would do them? What about when someone is in need? Well there are strangers who are in need, that is one scenario, but what if the person who has hurt you is in need? That is a tough one for me. I'm not necessarily referring to need of "stuff" but need of emotional support, need of a presence of someone being supportive while they go through a tough time? Hmmm, that is a tough one for me but the word states that we are to love our enemies, clothe them, walk the extra mile with them, offer mercy when they use you....
Matt 5 v 44: “But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"
Luke 6 v 27-31: But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, (28) bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (29) If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. (30) Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. (31) Do to others as you would have them do to you.
There is the mercy we extend to our families. I don't know about you but I allow mine to trample me and take advantage of me, because well, they are my family and I would do anything for them. I love them regardless of how they treat me on any given day. That does not mean I am happy with being disrespected, or overlooked, or put down. But it does mean I put up with a lot more from them than anyone else. And even then I need to extend mercy to them. We are supposed to be able to be "ourselves" at home and "ourselves" are not always pleasant selves are they? Extending mercy here is easier for me but also more painful. Does that make sense? It must be a tiny minuscule fraction of the pain Jesus feels when He extends His grace and mercy to us ungrateful souls!!!
And then there is another element of mercy that is important I have discovered. We need to be merciful with ourselves. We mess up, we fail, we shout when we shouldn't, we stress when we shouldn't, we crack under pressure, we can be mean-spirited, and yes, hard-hearted occasionally. And I know when I acknowledge this behaviour in myself I figuratively beat myself up, and mentally guilt myself out about how awful I am, what a total failure I am! How can my family, friends and even the Lord, love me? Well, in terms of the Lord, His love for us is not dependent on our behaviour. It is who He is and He loves us despite ourselves. We need to forgive ourselves and accept our daily failings, and yes, keep trying to improve, but know too that God loves us exactly how we are right now, right here.... He just does! And I am grateful!
So, let us move forward into today extending mercy to others and ourselves, but also be deeply grateful for the mercy extended to us by others and mostly, that deep, all-encompassing mercy that the Lord extends to us daily.
Eph 2 v 4-5: But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Rom 12v1: 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.