five-minute friday: mercy
I had to look up the definition of mercy, no lie. I always thought it sort of a way we pity others or how my mother is just gentle and tender. Like merciful people, the thing they do is just be nice to everyone. I suppose that’s part of it, but mercy is actually defined as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.” Full disclosure: I always score super low in mercy on those spiritual gifts tests. I like justice. I tend to fear that if I show someone mercy, then they'll never learn their lesson. You know, because of how in charge I am of everyone else. #fail I'm constantly re-learning that I am not.in.charge. Probably that's for another blog.
But interestingly enough, my parents worked hard when I was a child to help me learn to distinguish between mercy and grace. Grace was getting something I didn’t deserve…mercy was not getting something I did deserve. And I think these two go hand in hand. I can remember an instance where it wasn’t just that I didn’t get the punishment I deserved for disobedience, but my folks still let me go to a birthday party and be out late with friends. I was shown unwarranted favor when I deserved discipline. I believe it’s because of this training I received that I’m able to see God’s grace and mercy more clearly. My parents intentionally painted a biblical picture of these two concepts and it played out in my childhood realities.
God’s great mercy…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God’s great grace…that we might be called children of God – and that is what we are!
These things go together. They are our safety, our hope, our refuge. The realities of God’s mercy over my life means the consequences of sin (the noun) have been fully paid for…there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The realities of His grace mean that I am no longer a slave to sin (again, a noun) and that He daily loads me down with good things!
The difficult part for me is that this means the Merciful One dwells in me. I’ve never been a real good mercy-giver. I love justice and believe there are consequences to poor choices. I have a b.s. detector, according to several unnamed sources, and I have a hard time extending mercy to those who need it. I’m all about receiving it. But I have a harder time giving it.
God be merciful to me. God be merciful IN me, to others.
May I not be a hindrance to the Mercy Giver.
This was written in mostly five minutes for Five Minute Friday over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog. Hundreds of people link up every Friday to write for five minutes about her one word prompt. To be totally candid, this actually took me about thirty minutes to complete, because I have a one year old.