|Douglas Frank Photo|
Magnetism of Mercy
What pulls you toward God? Is it the magnetism of His mercy and love? Or are you pushed away from God because you have not gotten what you want or things have happened that anger you and you don’t understand? God has many attributes, mercy being one of the preeminent because it is mercy that keeps us from being destroyed for our sinfulness.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”(1 Peter 1:3). Now that’s the ultimate mercy, eternal life!
Mercy occurs 126 times in Scripture with 71 in the OT starting with this duzzy to Moses, “And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Exodus 33:19). No one can see God and live, but we know the theophany of Him passed Moses by to assure him of His presence to go with him. God does not show mercy to everyone in ways they understand. If you disregard Him and disrespect Him you cannot expect to be delivered through trials safely. God made clear in Deuteronomy 7 that He would show no mercy to His enemies. You are either for Him or against and therefore His enemy- Choose wisely. God shows that He hears His servants prayers for mercy. God is good and His love and mercy endures forever.
In Psalms 29 times David prays, “Have mercy on me Lord.” And David praises God for His mercy, a good idea. David also demonstrates that God wants our repentance for sins. Concealing sins brings no mercy, revealing does.
Micah 6:8 was referred to as the Chaplain’s Code in my training: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”Jesus of course in His Sermon on The Mount says, “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy” God desires our mercy not sacrifice. He wants broken and contrite hearts, not burnt bulls. “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another” (Zechariah 7:9).
Mercy can be hard when you don’t agree with someone or have been hurt. I tend to hope that they will be brought down low. Perhaps a better prayer is that both of our hearts will be opened to God’s love, that we will both see and know that repentance is better. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24). God has given us the ministry of reconciliation through His cross, so must we also take this gift of mercy to those who have hurt us? The answer of course is yes. Remember as tough as Romans 12:18 reminds us that not all people will be at peace with us, it is their choice. We just need to “As much as possible and it depends upon us to be at peace with everyone.”
Jesus gives us parables about mercy like the unrepentant servant who would not forgive a little when God forgave him much. Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:21 gives us a very powerful verse about what we do deserve. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” I have written a book, Great is God’s Faithfulness about this continuing love towards us. Paul reminds us that because of His mercy we should not lose heart. We must remember, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6).
And so Paul begins books of the Bible with, “Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 1:1). It was this kind of mercy I received this morning from a band of brothers in Christ who gave me the persevering hope to continue to reflect Christ’s light in a difficult and lifelong family situation. Hebrews 4:16 reminds us to go to the throne with confidence “to receive mercy to help in a time of need.” James says, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” He further expands it in 3:17 with, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”So, as I continue to try to help in the face of condemnation by family to offer Jude 2 as a final admonition, “Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” AMEN