Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Begging You For Mercy

As you scrolled through these pictures as a professing Christian what was your first reaction?

Was it to snarl your nose?

Was it to raise an eyebrow and wonder why in the world I had searched and posted these pictures?

Was it fear?

Was it anger?

Was it disgust?

Was it to shake your head and say "oh well, there's a bunch of folks that are going to bust hell wide open..."?

I have spent the morning studying the gift of mercy.
To do this I had to begin with a word study of mercy.
Mercy in the Greek is Eleeo and it means to have mercy on, to help one afflicted or seeking aid, to help the afflicted, to bring help to the wretched, to experience mercy. The word mercy can also be translated as lovingkindness, kindness, love, and unchanging love...

After the word study I began looking at cross-references. What exactly is mercy according to Scripture and exactly how are we as Christians to live it out? One of the cross-references I looked at was concerning Jesus' reaction to the people...

Seeing the people,
He felt compassion for them,
because they were distressed and dispirited
like sheep without a shepherd. 
Matthew 9:36

Jesus felt compassion for them...
He did not snarl His nose at them. He did not mock or ridicule them. He was not disgusted by them. He was not angry at them nor did He fear them. He felt compassion for them.

So what is compassion?
In the Greek it is Splagchnizomai and it means to be moved as to one's bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity)

This is what Jesus felt when He looked at the people and then He turned to His disciples...

Then He said to His disciples,
The harvest is plentiful,
but the workers are few. 
Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest
to send out workers into His harvest.”  
Matthew 9:37-38

When you go back and look at the pictures in the beginning of this post can you look at them with compassion? Can you look at them and say

Yet for this reason I found mercy,
so that in me as the foremost,
Jesus Christ might demonstrate
His perfect patience as an example
for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:16

My youngest child for some reason has a burden for the soul of Lady Gaga. I do not know why, but she does. Yesterday she asked if Lady Gaga loved Jesus. My almost initial response was to snarl my nose and laugh with a mocking laugh, but I stopped... no the Holy Spirit stopped me and quickened me.

I had to tell her that I did not think so... because Jesus said if we loved Him we would obey Him and keep His word and from all that we see and know of Lady Gaga she does not obey the Word of Jesus so by this action of disobedience she appears to not love Him. I then told her we needed to pray for her but we could not promote her.

That night before dinner Lady Gaga's soul was prayed for by my seven year old Bekah... she chose compassion instead of nose snarling.

Whew, had I not stopped and listened to the Spirit and chose to answer my child according to the Word of God and send her in the direction of grace and mercy... this would have been a moment that I would have and could have began to instill a self-righteous Pharisaical attitude in her.
How thankful I am for the Spirit of God that lives within us to give us the right words to say in those teachable moments. A pause and a deep breathe does wonders if we will just take them before we open our mouths and respond in our initial flesh.

I have received the mercy of God.
Therefore I give it to others.

Those pictures up there... I can think of several that fifteen years ago you could have possibly found me in. How thankful I am that there were those who chose mercy and felt compassion and were moved by the Spirit of God to pray for me, to share with me, to reach out to me... so that I too might experience the perfect patience of Christ and believe in Him for eternal life.

When I see theses pictures above and when I see the reality of these pictures in a personal encounter... I want my heart to feel compassion and to see that this is a person, who is without a shepherd and they are trying to meet a legitimate need in a very wrong way because maybe, just maybe, no one has shown them the right way.

Maybe, just maybe, they are begging me for mercy.

I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,
Psalm 31:7

Maybe no one has ever taken the time to see their affliction. Maybe no one has ever known the troubles of their soul. Maybe they have no clue about El Roi the God who sees. Maybe no one has never told them that vengence belongs to God and He will repay those who have hurt them and gotten away with it. Maybe, just maybe they too would rejoice in the lovingkindness of our God if someone would show it to them in a one on one personal kind of way...

Showing mercy doesn't mean you disregard or ignore sin or some one's fallenness. Showing mercy means you recognize that some one's sin is a result of their fallenness.

In the book that I am reading, Living in Love by James & Betty Robison, James points out that when Jesus confronted someone in their sin He did not condemn them or take them to task for their past. He offered forgiveness and a chance to start anew.

Jesus did not ignore their sin by any means, and He certainly did not condone it or encourage it, but He still showed them mercy.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall receive mercy.
Matthew 5:7

I know that there will be those who hate God and His Christ until the very end, until the very end of their individual lives and until the very end of this age, but I do not know who "those" are.
I am not God.
Therefore I show mercy to all. I show kindness to all. I give grace to all.
Yet I do it without hiding the truth or condoning the sin... just like Jesus did.

 He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

I cannot look at someone with my eyes of flesh and see their heart. I never know when my one act of kindness, my one show of mercy, my one offer of grace is what God will use to bring this soul into His eternal kingdom...

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