Oh, Mercy! {A Concept Fully Against My Nature}

Mercy. It’s concept far beyond my human nature. If I am extending mercy, then you KNOW it’s God through me and not me. Because I am a justice girl. A fair girl.  One who thinks what you put in is what you get out. Nothing is free; all must be earned.  My parents raised me not to take handouts, but to work hard for what I have. I am a type-A achiever. An ENFJ (Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Judgement).  I read the parable of the workers in Matthew 20 and think…that’s  just soooooo UNFAIR!  Those who worked a half day received the same pay as those who worked a full day – what in the WORLD?  

Oh, Mercy

So, mercy?  It’s not my nature.  It’s my struggle. 

What exactly is mercy?  Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.  Kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; an act of kindness, compassion, or favor.  

It’s not getting what you deserve.  

According to my handy dandy Bible study tools, “several Hebrew and Greek terms lie behind the English term ‘mercy.’ The chief Hebrew term is hesed, God’s covenant “lovingkindness.”  The Greek term behind “mercy” is most often eleos: compassion, pity, to show mercy.”

It comes from Medieval Latin merced-, merces, from Latin, price paid, wages.  (Yeah, I see where this is headed!)

R.C Sproul calls hesed “loyal love.”  Hesed wraps love, mercy, grace, and kindness all up together. In fact, it’s my favorite characteristic of God – a kindness borne from love- a loving kindness.  If someone is going to be kind, wouldn’t you rather have their kindness  rooted in love?

So, this word – mercy- sounds lovely when it’s coming from God, who has told me that ALL have sinned and fall short of his glory (Romans 3:23) including ME. It’s a great word when another extends her hand toward ME when I do not deserve it. When she has EVERY right to be mad as well as the position to punish me.

But, then…there’s mercy I must extend.  Loving kindness that must flow from me to others. And as soon as I consider it, my head says things like…

I am NOT a doormat!  I will not allow people to just walk all over me.  I must stand up for myself!  {Ask my momma about my mouthy teen years!} I can hear myself saying the same to my kiddos:  Stand up for yourself!  Blah, blah. 

They deserve it!  Bad choice after bad choice.  They will just have to suffer.  Or...actions have consequences and these are his/hers.  

I have even played God a bit…God is allowing this because of all they’ve done.

Have you thought these things?  What goes around comes around?

Friend, there are consequences to sin.  But, they’re not mine to dole out.  There’s wisdom after you’ve been hurt again and again.  I get that, and it’s between you and God.   But, when I look at Jesus – at his MERCY toward me and you – I don’t see a man standing before Pilate, proclaiming, “I am NOT a doormat!  You will not spread these lies!” I don’t see him calling down angels, which he could have done.  You know what? Jesus could have ended it all, gotten revenge on all of those shouting, “Crucify HIm!” with just a few words.

But, He didn’t.

They bound Jesus, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.  Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  Jesus replied, “You have said it.”  Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise. Mark 15

WHAT?  are  you kidding me!  He said NOTHING!  Come on, Jesus. TELL THEM.  Explain!  Bring the hammer down.  (That’s what I say in my head as I read this – oh, the INJUSTICE!)

Jesus said nothing.

Shew.  I have read that over and over.  Because that girl in me that does NOT want to extend mercy.  Or grace (unmerited favor).  The one who wants what SHE thinks is fair…that girl can’t believe: Jesus said nothing.  

Friends, Jesus does not subscribe to my idea or your idea of fair.  He is  just. He is merciful.  He has the power to sentence me to death.  He has good reason to send me to hell.  I sin every day and fall short of His glory.  

But, mercy. Price paid.  Hesed. Loving kindness. Compassion and forgiveness. Kindly forbearance.

He extends his mercy to me, for while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me (Romans 5:8). He who knew no sin died so he could become MY righteousness.

And I am worried about my “rights”?  And standing up for myself and being heard?  

PLUH – EEZZZE.  

I am reminded of the Egyptians pursuit of the Israelites in the book of Exodus 14.  Moses looks at the Israelites and says, “the Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

I am claiming Moses’ words today.  And that’s big because I can be the mouthiest gal in the room. But, God has been whispering mercy over my heart.  And all those hurts and those “that was so mean’s” and “why did you do that to me’s” are passing.  I feel my heart releasing them as I say over and over, Lord, have mercy.  And it is only by Him and through Him that I can extend mercy.  

Thank you, Lord, for your mercy.  I am ever so grateful.  May I remember that mercy is not just a feeling.  It’s an action.  It’s how I respond in thought and deed. I am to be merciful.  Always.  May it be so.  

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:7

Amen.

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My nudge toward studying mercy has come via a daily devotional by Paul David Tripp:  New Morning Mercies.  I highly recommend this devo.  It’s so so good!

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Comments

  1. LaDonna Bangeman says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I found your website quite by accident. Well, I’ll call it that but I know now after reading your words that it could have been me writing this. Word for word. Me.

    I believe I must of needed to read this, especially the part at the end where you talked about claiming the words of Moses, “to be still and let God fight my battle”. I normally never post on blogs or pages, but I just wanted to say thank you for reminding me that I need to do this.

    Sincerely,

    LaDonna

    • I am so glad God lead you here:) It’s so hard in our humanness to be still and know He’s fighting for us. I pray you have peace today as you let go and let Him!

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