At the intersection of Grace and Mercy is the corner where we can meet…
Greetings Dear Reader,
When my sons were wee lads, they knew when they had done wrong. They knew also that there were consequences for doing wrong intentionally. Sometimes, however, I wanted them to learn about mercy. We would discuss why what they had chosen was wrong. Once I was clear that the one committing the infraction understood why what was done was wrong, I would explain that I wanted him to understand about mercy as well.
I would explicate that this time there would be no consequences for the infraction. I would explain that it is as important to understand mercy as it is justice. My eldest Son caught on quickly. He evidenced it through the kindness he would show to others when they did not deserve it. My younger Son got it as well. He also thought that he could use it to his advantage.
One early Saturday morning when was I writing, Bezel, my younger Son came into my office looking very nervous. He asked me if I was busy and I responded that I was not too busy for him. He came over and gave me a big hug. I asked what was the matter. He responded in his most adult four-year-old tone, “Papa, I think that today I need to learn about mercy.”
It took all I had to not laugh immediately. I asked about what I needed to be merciful. He told me that he had eaten the blueberries that I was going to use for breakfast. I was moved with great compassion as my boy put his hope in my hands that there was forgiveness and mercy for his wrong of taking what he was told not to take. In his defense, blueberries are one of his favorite foods of all the foods that are food.
I could tell that he needed to be heard and we had a good talk about how it hurt the whole family that he took something that was meant for everyone. He did receive mercy and we took a one on one trip to the store to get more blueberries for breakfast. Mercy may be one of the best uses of power there is.
Mercy is that reverse of the coin of grace. Since grace is receiving something we do not deserve, mercy is not receiving something that we do deserve. Whether we admit it or not, we are at the mercy of the Father constantly. We do not merit grace and it is in his mercy that we are given it. Mercy is what gives us a path to reconciliation, reclamation, and redemption.
It takes humility to choose mercy. It takes sacrifice. We do not deserve any good thing from God but he shows us mercy all the time. He makes a path for us to follow. The path to mercy is blazoned with God’s own blood. It is easy to find and hard to follow. He gives us mercy and asks us in return to be merciful to others. Therein, Dear Reader is the great challenge.
There are people in our lives who have wronged us deeply. They may be friends, family, parents, or children. It is common in the current culture to cut them off and disavow them. It is encouraged that we label people as toxic and remove them from our lives. We do this, claiming still to love them. We may be completely right in our assessment of the character and actions of the other person. We still have an obligation to mercy.
When someone has wronged us over and over, we have great power. Even if they do not see the wrong they do, we are commanded to love them. We are required to be merciful. We must set clear boundaries that protect us from enabling the wrong people commit. We must also always provide a path to reconciliation. The absolute expression of love for someone who is consistently, undeniably wronging us is to find ways to show love and mercy with faith and humility.
That person that we have cut off may not deserve our mercy and kindness. He or she may deserve to never again feel the genuine love we carry in our hearts. Instead of measuring by that standard, Dear Reader, I must measure by the standard of the great mercy I need for the wrongs I have done. My love and mercy must be expressed out of recognition of my debt, not my power. Only then can I use the power I hold. Only then may I employ deft strokes of retribution for the wrongs done to me. Strokes of retribution must be acts of love, fueled by mercy, dealing out grace.
I said all that to say this: At that intersection, Dear Reader, where love is trafficked through the joining of grace and mercy is where real healing can begin. It is where we find power and strength to continue. It is where we begin to rise above the mire of the wrongs we commit against each other and begin to get a glimmer of what we can be if we choose grace and mercy as a way of life. The path is clearer and easier if we carry these things in our heart. I have plenty for you and could use all you can spare. Oh, and because we get our grace and mercy freely from the Father, we never run out.
Wishing you joy in the journey,
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, “That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
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