This week's memory verse:
"He has showed you O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
Have you ever played "mercy" with someone? My brother and I use to play it...it's when you lock hands and try to bend the other persons hands back enough that they yell "MERCY!" Why do children play such painful games and call it fun? Are they practicing for adulthood? Hmmmm....
The dictionary defines mercy as "the feeling which motivates compassion; a disposition to be kind and forgiving, especially to those under one's own power; something for which to be thankful, a blessing." Our problem is...mercy does not always come naturally to us...we want to make those that hurt us suffer.
God asks and REQUIRES us to love mercy as much as he does. Psalm 103:8-14 says that God is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. He demonstrates this by NOT treating us as our sins deserve...he went out of his way to take our sins away so he could love us and have a relationship with us.
God knows we are weak and that mercy and compassion does not come easy for us. While he sympathizes with us, he calls us to a higher standard ( he raises the bar higher for us!) Ephesians 5:12 tells us that we are to walk in the way of love as Christ lived - he gave himself as a living sacrifice to God AND he forgave those who persecuted, beat and killed him! Now, believe me, I know those are big shoes to fill...walking the way of Christ...but I believe God wants us to try.
Jesus taught us to be merciful, as our Father is to us...we are not to judge, not to condemn, but to FORGIVE. He also gives us motivation for doing these difficult things....so these things will be done to us as well. Hmmm...there's that Golden Rule again. Maybe we should take it more seriously.
I have friends who have BIG things to be merciful about...a cheating husband...a friend who turned out to be a double-crosser...a mother who beat her kids...a drunk driver who killed a person...we humans mess up, and sometimes BIG TIME, on a daily basis. Since we all mess up...wouldn't you want mercy when you mess up???? Shouldn't we at least TRY to show mercy when someone messes up around us?
C. S. Lewis once wrote, "To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you." WOW! That is not an easy thing to do, but it's something that we have to do. We can't hold a person's sins against them while at the same time asking God to forgive our sins, can we?
God knows this is hard...that is why he has mercy on you while you are still holding grudges. But, he does want you to try to show mercy to others.
So, don't bend back the hands you are holding until they scream "MERCY!" Let up...forgive and cradle those hands. Put the hurtful games of childhood away, and GIVE mercy instead of making your loved ones beg for it.