Micah 7:18 “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.”
We all have been there. Thinking we have our lives in control and then something never even conceived in our worst nightmare happens. And we fall on our faces in grief and regret. We come to a place where all the fixing and repairing will not work. The only solution is mercy.
I have been there. I have experienced it. I have panted for it. I have never deserved it. My own weakness, foolishness, pride, personal independence, and simple rebellion have all been efforts to run away from it. Mercy is the “IT” of my life. My life has tasted the power of God to forgive. “IT” is only when we get away from ourselves and we find God. Mercy is the only solution and path to peace, wisdom, completeness, delight, joy, and victory.
Lord, as my day begins, I resign my own stubbornness to simply accept your mercy.
Ephesians 2:4-5 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
I grew up in the shadow of a military training base. My Boy Scout leader was a drill instructor. Many of the adults in the periphery of my life were in the military. My father was in the Naval Reserve and wore his Senior Chief uniform proudly. He tried to keep my brothers and sister shipshape. Everything had its place, and everything should be in that place. To his dismay, it was seldom as he would expect. I grew up with absolute expectations of proper behavior and most often came up short of my father’s spit and polish.
I have spent years living and breathing in the world of expectations of other people. I lived in constant threat of disappointment to the socially acceptable norm. My ingrained nature is one of trying to live up to someone else’s imposed expectation. I failed a lot. Trying as I might, I could not be what the world expected because their expectations never included mercy.
I have found a new life. Now I live in mercy. I have experienced it. I have cultivated it. I have a great need for it. I cannot exist without it. And when it becomes a part of me, my life finds truth, purity, holiness, peace, wisdom, completeness, delight, joy, and victory. My years of living in this great mercy cause me to show mercy.
Lord, remind me again and again that in your mercy I need to show mercy.
Micah 7:18-19 “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”
The Bible of the Old Testament refers to people most of the time as transgressors or sinners. Sinners condemned. Sinners in need of pardon. Sinners estranged. Sinners in need of acceptance and love. Sinners in deficit. Sinners falling short. Sinners who were deserving of a penalty. Sinners afar off. Sinners separated from God. A people who are deeply troubled, without hope, without expectations, and without vibrancy. The perfect image of God’s most treasured creation was seen as adulterated, corrupted, and broken. Conversely, we hear God responding as one who would bring pardon. Pardon at the expense of Himself. Pardon exercised in love. Forgiveness is offered, no matter how terrible my attempts at life have been. And that special pardon includes the purposeful forgetfulness of our past. Undeserved blessedness.
Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
The electricity was out for a while this early morning. No coffee, no heat, no internet, and no TV. When it came back on I heard the wistful and melodious words of my wife, “Thank God.” Emotions pointed at the supplier of our power were not that good when all went black. But the moment it returned, attitudes changed. All was forgiven.
Why does God care so much as to forgive me for all the dumb decisions, willful acts, nurtured bad habits, and purposeful neglect? Why would the personified perfection of God desire to have such a flawed, imperfect person like me be a part of His family? Why would God want to call me “beloved”, “child”, or even “heir”? We are saved to save. WE ARE FORGIVEN TO FORGIVE. It is the greatest Godly act we can do. Forgiveness is love acting out. It is not keeping records of wrongs. Forgiveness is being kind when wronged. Forgiveness does not dishonor. Forgiveness is not self-seeking. It is love.
2 Corinthians 2:5-8 “If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.”
There must be some point in a broken relationship where it is enough. A place and a time where healing is more important than grief. A place and time to make amends, a place where we can be set free from the tyranny of past mistakes. To perceive a time as an opportunity to learn. No one is immune to hurts inflicted. They are a part of you, but not meant to torment you. If I have hurt you, I need your forgiveness. You may judge and pass on continual condemnation and that is your problem. I will grow from my mistakes. Those bound by the lack of forgiveness for others are not healed but are eaten by their own attitudes. I will keep on keeping on. I will take the lessons of forgiveness to heart, not the hurt. Ten years from now it will hardly matter, and few will remember it anyway.