A question of mercy

I have a question: We want God to have mercy on us when we screw up, right? Why don’t we want Him to have mercy on others, especially those who hurt us? Why do we want bad things to come to them? Why do we refuse to see the fact that God loves those people the same as He loves us, and He’s not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9)?

Revenge is human nature, it’s very difficult to break free from the desire to see it land on our enemies’ heads. And somehow we think we must be God’s favorite and He will spare us and gather us into His loving forgiveness, but we are sure that He’s closed His arms to others, others that we deem unforgivable.

This is just not so.

If I try to count up all the times that I have messed up, I’d be here all week. And do you know how many of those times God has forgiven me? All of them; all that I’ve repented of and asked forgiveness for, that is. And even when I don’t realize what I’ve done, I know that God’s goodness and mercy have followed me around, cleaning up my messes. Psalm 23:6 promises me that. So why do we find it hard to imagine that God does that for others too? God loves His children, all of them. He is rich in mercy and loving-kindness. We should be too.

I stumbled upon an online forum where people were talking about a shared experience from years ago. The forum could have been a place where they reminisce about funny things and easier times, but sadly it gave many the opportunity to simply prove themselves bitter and stuck in the past.

God isn’t in the business of going backwards, He is always in forward motion. He has plans for us, He has a future and a hope for us (Jeremiah 29:11). He doesn’t live in the past. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). How can we fulfill God’s plans for our lives if we can’t get out of the past? We must accept God’s mercy for ourselves, we must show God’s mercy to others, and we must get on with life!

The perfect combination

I’ve been pondering grace and mercy and faith and repentance; the balance of which entire theologies are being made of… a little of this, a lot of that; finding the perfect mixture that answers our questions and makes us feel like we’ve got it all figured out.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t have it all figured out. I know that all these elements work together in the life and walk of a Christian, but I’m not sure when you cross the line and you’ve got too much of one at the expense of another.

I know that I cannot perpetually walk in sin in an area of my life without having to pay the wages of that sin. The Bible assures me that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) I know that’s when I’m in danger of being out from under the protection of my Father God. But the Bible also tells me that when I repent of my sin, He is faithful and just to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9) If I sin and repent, and sin and repent again, I know His forgiveness will be there for me.

I stumbled upon an amazing scripture the other day and as I’ve let it roll around in my head, I love it more and more. It is found in Psalm 94:18-19, If I say, “My foot slips,” Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul. It is the perfect scripture for an imperfect person, like me.

The Lord’s mercy is astounding. His grace is a precious gift. But I believe it has a lot to do with the attitude of the heart; an attitude of repentance, a willingness to say, “I blew it.”

When I blow it, He’s got my back.

But in addition to repentance, I have to receive the forgiveness that He so quickly and consistently provides. I can’t move forward without using my faith to accept His mercy. Only then can I pick myself up, dust myself off, and move forward.

I cannot do without God’s grace and mercy… and He cannot do without my faith and repentance. It’s the perfect combination of His job and mine that makes it work.