So we’re free!
We can walk out of court holding our Hell-fire insurance policy, go off and carry on with our former life, right?
But that’s not what life is all about. That’s only the legalities taken care of.
The key principle here is, as always, “Relationships”.
That’s why God made us in the first place, and then bought us back when we turned our backs on Him..
He has exchanged His role as righteous judge with that of a loving father. He has adopted us!
The only trouble is, the problem of our sin can’t be totally erased with a wave of God’s magic wand (not yet anyhow!)
A battle might be won, but all the dead bodies and the fallout from the conflict still has to be cleaned up.
It takes time.
We, as the dominant and specially chosen race, have made a mess of this world. I mean we messed up big time! So we have to still face consequences – disease, pests, weeds, predation, carnivory, degradation of all matter. (In fact, the scientists have recognized this, and call it the Second Law of Thermodynamics.)
On top of that, we still have the power of choice between right and wrong. Do you think bad habits will change overnight? Sometimes they do, and that’s a miracle.
It’s another example of God’s grace and mercy.
But if we took years of bad choices to set one habit, God doesn’t always make that change for us. He’ll help us change if we let Him, but we normally have to learn to get ourselves free of stuff we took on willingly years ago.
Remember what we said last time: God doesn’t owe us anything!
He would be fully within His rights to wash His hands of us, let us go and mess up again. But that’s not what God is.
It’s now a different set of dynamics in this new life as an acquitted sinner.
The many mercies we receive are an alleviation from the pain, suffering and degradation this fallen world is enduring.
We must remember that now it’s all God’s prerogative.
It’s got nothing to do with what we deserve.
If God withholds His blessing in certain instances, even that is for our highest good.
"Justice" has no say in this now. All that stuff was settled at the cross, when Jesus died, and when we first begged for God’s mercy. (See previous post)
As it’s been said before: God loves us the way we are, but He loves us too much to leave us the way we are!
And he’ll often make use of our consequences and struggles and injustices in this world to make us strong. Make us spread our wings and fly through – and over – the storms.
But having said that, God will often show us His mercy and intervene in natural crises.
So many stories I’ve heard about how disaster hit certain communities or individuals, and the child of God escapes miraculously. And not necessarily the Christian either. They always say “It was a miracle!”
We see His mercy in the natural world, decaying though it is. Some examples:
- Special hormones or natural pain-killers are released in the victim when a predator catches and devours it.
- Visually impaired people often experience a sharpening of other senses, often way beyond the capabilities of able-bodied people.
- We have developed our God-given talents and technology (whether we give Him credit or not) to make life easier, and ease some of the consequences of our fall.
But even in our everyday lives and routine, you can find examples of God’s mercy -- if we look for it!
His mercy follows me “all the days of my life.”
But once we’ve experienced His mercy, it’s now up to us to be merciful. (See Luke 6:36)
If we’re God’s children, we have to show the same characteristics and the example God showed us, as described above.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
Our Buddhist friends would call that “Good Karma”, but I prefer to call it the principle of Sowing and Reaping. Perhaps that’s another incentive to show mercy to those who have hurt us, used us, cheated on us etc..
But here’s another incentive to show mercy: See Matthew 18:21-35.
But mercy has a positive side to it.
It’s not merely withholding vengeance when you have the chance.
It’s reflecting God’s heart – His desire to relieve the suffering of humankind, when we can.
Yes, we as a race have gotten ourselves into this mess, but sometimes God relieves some of those painful consequences – often through us, the people of God -- IF we have the same kind of heart as God has for suffering people.
That’s why we call these organised missions "Mercy" Ministries.
The Salvation Army have got it right here.
OK, we may not fully agree doctrinally, but they’re often the first on the scene after natural disasters etc. Go, the Salvos!
Is there someone you can think of in your sphere of influence that you can show God’s mercy to?
Comments? (But please be merciful to me! J )