Every child in the Corkum clan knew about “The Pond” located on my uncle’s property. The story of its non-existing bottom had been passed down from generation to generation. Consequently, we always approached the pond with extreme trepidation! As a child I often wondered what would happen if I fell into the murky pool.
Would I keep falling until I hit China or would I find Wonderland as Alice did?
Eventually, I grew to understand that the pond was not really bottomless. It was just so deep that it appeared unfathomable.
The Tudes2B are unplumbed pools of truth, each one a major theme running throughout the pages of God’s Story.
They cause us to look inwardly to the true nature of our hearts; something most of us would rather avoid!
The first four Tudes2B deal with our relationship to God.
If we come before Him knowing we can do nothing to earn our salvation, mourning our sin, submitting to His will and His way, and starving for His righteousness, we can be satisfied. Then, once we have feasted on “The Righteousness,” it will be reflected in the way we live!
The next three Tudes2B show us how we are to relate to others.
As disciples of Jesus, we must understand the importance of mercy in God’s Kingdom. We will never be more Christ-like or be more like our Heavenly Father than when we display mercy (Ezekiel 33:11; I Tim 2:4; II Peter 3:9; Luke 6:35-36).
What is mercy?
Mercy is getting inside the skin of those around us. We view their life from their perspective, feeling what they feel, and are moved to alleviate their pain.
Mercy is not merely feeling pity. We can feel pity and do nothing.
It is compassion in action! (Matt 10:42; Matt 25:34-40 )
Merciful eyes see the struggles of a teenage mom and move to meet her need.
Merciful eyes see the neighbour battling cancer and move to help in some way.
At the core of mercy is giving. It is a sacrificial giving of your time, compassion, love, things, money and self. Someone once said, “Mercy doesn’t give until it hurts, it gives until there is nothing left to give.”
Merciful eyes, though, see more than just surface needs. Merciful eyes see loneliness, despair, and hopelessness, and then move to meet the need.
More importantly, mercy never misses or refuses the opportunity to also meet the deeper need for Christ. (Acts 20: 18-21)
In our hurting, broken world, there will always be opportunities to show mercy.
Are you looking for them?
What do YOU see when strolling through the mall or the streets of your town?
Are you looking with merciful eyes or eyes blinded by busyness and indifference?
Up to this point, we are all probably patting ourselves on the back, thinking, “I got this Tude down! I feel others’ pain and I do try to help.”
Yet there is more!
Mercy, the mercy Christ displayed and mirrored for us, acts in the best interest of the person hurting, even when they do not deserve it!
Did you catch that last phrase?
In the words of Shakespeare, “Ay, there is the rub.”
Truthfully, I find it easy to help those who are in need, but to extend mercy to someone who has hurt me does not come as easily. In fact, it is totally opposite to what I want to do!
How Does Mercy Work?
I am hurt by someone. I must respond to the hurt.
I have a decision to make: Will I hurt this person by retaliating in order to teach them a lesson? I have the power to do so either with my words or actions. But should I use that power?
Love enters (Christ’s love). Love doesn’t ignore the truth of the situation, nor the wrong done. Love controls the response to the wrong! Love is the foundation for mercy.
Mercy recognizes a debt is owed but refrains from collecting it. Instead of lashing out, we choose to give mercy where it is not deserved. We leave the offender and the offense in God’s hands.
Giving mercy to those who hurt me is not something I can muster up on my own. It can come only from me feasting on THE RIGHTEOUSNESS.
As true disciples of Christ, we understand mercy because God extended mercy to us! We were wretched and lost and God exercised His mercy by giving His Son to die for us. He overlooked the debt we owed and adopted us into His family. Therefore, out of a grateful heart, we extend mercy to others. We do not do it for our glory, but for HIS.
Yet, my need for mercy extends past my salvation.
There are days I sin by walking in my flesh instead of walking with the Spirit. There will be times when the trials of life seem too hard to bear. Thus, I am in need of God’s mercy daily.
For this reason, knowing that I myself continually need God’s mercy, I continually extend mercy to others (Matt 18:23-35).
“How can we pray to God for mercy if we ourselves have no mercy?” Isaac Bashevis Singer
The disciples sitting at Jesus’ feet that day went on to conquer Rome with mercy. They cared for the dying, the widows, the elderly and the marginal. They displayed mercy to those who hurt them and persecuted them, while also meeting the people’s deeper need for a Saviour.
Are you conquering your marriage, your family, your church, and your community with mercy today?
As His disciples, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the depth of our mercy should be like my childhood pond – unfathomable!