Friday, May 13, 2016

Expressions of Real Mercy

Who is a God like you, who pardons sins and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.  Micah 7:18

Mercy is meeting people's needs. It is not simply a warm feeling toward someone. Mercy is something we do.  There are three expressions of real mercy:
  1. Forgiveness - This is not so much a willingness to respond when a wrong is righted, but to act toward one who has injured us as if they haven't.  The "blessedness" results in the absence of bitterness, anger, and resentment.   It is dealing with wrong in a godly manner.  Forgiveness is a power bestowed on another by one who has the right to hold one in judgment.  (Can you forgive yourself?)  The hard part of forgiveness is not talking about its value, but acting it out when you have something to forgive.  It is hard to show mercy without forgiveness.  God not only expects forgiveness but judges us accordingly:  Matthew 6:12,14,15 - 'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. "But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
  2. Sympathy - feel the suffering of another as our own.  This means to "suffer with" - identification with another.  It involves imagination and vision in order to see and understand the problems and needs of others; looking past the obvious.  No legal obligation can make this happen... Nobody can make you care or respond in the right spirit.   Mercy is not mercy without a spirit of sympathy.
  3. Good Deeds - tangible expression of inward change.  "Faith without works is dead" (non-existent)  The feeling of sympathy must express itself to alleviate the suffering.   It cannot care in silence when there is something it can do.  God’s mercy was evident at Calvary.  The song "At Calvary" tells of His mercy - "Mercy there was great and grace was free. Pardon there was multiplied to me. There my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary."  To ask God to "Have Mercy on Us" is to ask Him to repeat the sacrifice of the cross.  All the mercy God could give man He gave in the cross.  "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit."  Titus 3:5
When we display mercy it is evidence of our reception of God's mercy.  Our mercy for others is not the condition of receiving God's mercy but the product of God's mercy.  Not to show mercy is to show that we have either not received it or that we don't understand it.
When we show mercy to others we are more likely to receive mercy from God and other men.  One who shows mercy is usually shown mercy.  The person who complains "no one came to see me" seldom goes themselves.  Selfishness and mercy do not cohabit.
It is not how much we have done so much as why we have done it that is the concern of Christ for us.  The wrong motive destroys real mercy.  Good done for any personal reason of personal gain is not mercy.  The promise of return is lost - God keeps no man in debt for His love and neither should we.
God's mercy is unmerited therefore it is not dependent on our righteousness. Remembering God's love encourages our love for others.  Remember God’s love and mercy and likewise show love and mercy to others.  This is God’s plan for His children.  He sent us Christ as an example and God Himself is an example of mercy in action. 

Scripture to Claim:
Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.  Ephesians 2:3-5

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