Many people think that grace is getting what you don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what you do deserve. This statement presents an inadequate understanding of grace and mercy. Bad cliche. Pitiful theology. There is a richness and depth to grace and mercy that no cliche can capture. I’ve been focusing on mercy the past two posts. I continue today.[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]
- God is mercy. Mercy is innate to the Trinity. Mercy resides in the Trinity and only comes from the Trinity. Mercy is God’s loyal and healing lovingkindness working in the life of every human being.
- You need mercy. You are not making it in this life without it. God alone loves you enough to do everything He can to save you and draw you to Himself. You cannot do that on your own.
How to Live In Mercy
1. Ask for it
Churches that are liturgical are comfortable praying, “Lord, have mercy.” These words have been integral to worship for centuries. As a result, their adherents often pray “Lord, have mercy” frequently during the day. In the Eastern tradition, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (the Jesus Prayer) is repeated regularly as a means of communing with God moment by moment.
These words are never far from the heart or lips of those who understand the necessity of mercy for their own lives.
Frederica Mathewes-Green writes:
The problem is not in God’s willingness to have mercy, but in our forgetting that we need it. We keep lapsing into ideas of self-sufficiency, or get impressed with our niceness, and so we lose our humility. Asking for mercy reminds us that we are still poor and needy, and fall short of the glory of God. Those who do not ask do not receive, because they don’t know their own need. The Illumined Heart (p. 73)
2. Show it
Jesus teaches that those who show mercy receive mercy (Matthew 5.7). Are you merciful to others? I’m afraid I know more Christians who are quick to criticize and judge than to show mercy. Their ill-will towards others blocks God’s mercy from being activated. Yet, it is in the showing of mercy that mercy is received from God.
To receive mercy, show mercy. To show more mercy, receive more mercy. It’s a wonderful cycle of God’s work in and through you.
3. Participate in it
Mercy is yours right now. Yet, to experience it, you need to acknowledge your inadequacy. You need to become an empty vessel so that God’s mercy can fill you (Romans 9.23). Be like the publican who “would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, saying, ‘God be merciful to me, a sinner.’”
Living in mercy can be summarized as follows:
It is the continual reception of the mercy of God and nothing else which empowers the soul to good works. And it is only the merciful who attain mercy from God. For all eternity man will be at the disposal of God’s mercy. At whatever stage of development he will reach, man’s prayer will always remain the central prayer of the Church: Lord have mercy on me a sinner! The holier the person, the greater is his sense of sinful unworthiness, the stronger is his dependence on the mercy of God, and the more he is merciful to the weaknesses of others. (from unknown source)
Will you live today in God’s mercy? Ask for it, show it, and participate in it. It will revolutionize your life.
Share your thoughts below.