Posts Tagged ‘mercy’

The Throne Room

November 6, 2016

An allegory explaining why Jesus died to redeem mankind

Long, long ago before the first humans were even created an assembly was called in the heavenlies.  In the throne room of God were the Father, the Son, Satan and all the angels remaining after the great angelic rebellion.  Satan had told God “I will not serve you” and vowed to become the Enemy of God, the Usurper,  the hater of God and all who love Him.  The angels who had rebelled with Satan were not present.

Before them played the vision of human history, from the creation, through the rebellion of mankind, and all that happened after that.

“I want them back”, said the Father.

“But they are mine”, cried Satan.  “They chose me because I promised they could be like God.  That sealed it.  Because they chose me, they are mine!”

The Father replied, “That was your sin too, Satan.  You wanted to be your own God.  Do you not realize I could destroy you in a moment and take them back?”

“But that would not be justice”, sneered Satan.  “You claim to be perfectly just.  You can’t destroy me to take what is rightfully mine!  I won this battle!  They chose me freely.  They are mine.  And I care only to destroy them now because you seem to treasure them, claiming even to love them.  Accept that I have won against you.  Admit defeat!”

“Justice must be served” agreed the Father.  “Very well then, I will purchase them back from you.  Name your price.”

Somewhat taken aback, Satan thought for a long time, then grinned.  “Surely you know I will set the price very high.  I demand you become one of them and enter their world.  You will be rejected by many of them, and then killed.  Lets see, not just any death will do, either.  How about a Roman cross?  And before the crucifixion, a Roman scourging, a crown of thorns, slapping, beating with sticks, being spit upon.  Then as you hang in agony struggling in pain to breathe, you will have the knowledge that most of them will stay with me anyway, because they like the sense of control I give them.  You will never do all that!  You could never love the wretched things that much!”

“I accept your price”, said the Father.

Shocked, Satan shouted “You will never follow through with it.!  It will be too terrible!  Love has it’s limits.”

The Son stood and said “I will do it.”  And immediately he began the process through which He would become human, suffer all the indignities of human life, and die a most horrible death to redeem the beloved.

“I will be called Jesus”, said the Son, “for I will save my people.”

And the angels bowed before Him, silent with awe.


Being Merciful

January 31, 2016

“I want you to be merciful more than I want your offerings”   Matthew 12:7

These are the words of Jesus.  They are striking, because they put His priorities in an order most of us have never thought about.  We tend to think of God wanting us to attend to doing things.  We are supposed to use our talents for good, we are supposed to do good works, we are supposed to achieve, we are supposed to give of what we have–but aren’t these things mostly in the category of offerings?  It would seem Jesus cares more about our quality of being merciful than He cares about these other things.  So what is being merciful all about?

It appears that mercy is more about our attitude.  There are works of mercy, to be sure, such as feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing those who need it etc.  But the mercy itself is more of an attitude of the heart.  Being merciful means a number of things.  First, it is having a compassionate outlook, recognizing we all fight our inner battles, and seeing someone at their worst doesn’t define the totality of who that person is.  Second, it is being willing to forgive–not wishing for revenge on the person who has hurt us.  Third, it is giving a person the benefit of the doubt, even if it looks to us as if they have caused their own misery.  Fourth, it is not demanding justice, or our own rights, even if we could, when that would cost the other person.  Fifth, it is choosing not to condemn, recognizing only God knows all the facts of a situation and all the truths about a person.  Sixth, it is humility, knowing we have all required the mercy of God.

God cares about our thoughts and the attitudes of our hearts.  Being humble people before Him, recognizing our own need of His grace, realizing we are not our own, but owe God for everything including our own life, sets us up for a closer and deeper relationship with Him.  Intimacy with God is our purpose.

What Forgiveness is and Isn’t

March 6, 2008

I used to have the idea forgiveness meant  forgetting something bad happened.  Then I changed my mind and decided it must be about understanding why the other person did what they did when it hurt me.  As I got older, I learned neither of those things worked all the time.  Yet, I knew mental health professionals tell us its healthier to forgive.  Well, what is forgiveness then, and how can I do it?

I am a Christian, and ultimately the answer to my question is rooted in my faith in Jesus Christ.  There are three things about Him that I think are appropriate to the subject of forgiveness.  First, Jesus taught something no other faith teaches.  That is, God forgives, and God’s forgiveness is available to whomever recognizes their need for His forgiveness and seeks it.  There is no price to be paid by the seeker, because God paid the price Himself when He walked the earth as the man Jesus Christ, and died for the sins of the world.  This is a great mystery, and in my human mind I can’t begin to understand it.  It was done before all the angels and demons of the universe, and none could dispute that justice was served.  For our part, justice is served to us with love, grace and mercy.

The second thing Jesus taught is that because I myself am forgiven everything, I must forgive someone who owes me much less than I owed God.  Justice is God’s because He is the creator, and He himself IS justice.  He will see that justice is served to those who wrong me…and He may well serve that justice with the same love, mercy and grace he showed me.  Can I accept that? He desires repentance of all people, including my wrongdoer, and me.  Can I trust Him to work in that other person’s life, and not demand they “pay” in some way for what they did to me? What do I want anyway, vengeance?  Do I want to see someone else experiencing hurt as I’ve been hurt.  What does that say about me? 

The easiest way to rid oneself of the emotion of vengefulness is to do the opposite.  I can pray for my wrongdoer.  Jesus told us to do that.  I can also do good to that person.  Jesus told us to do that, too.  When I do good to anyone, I will have more positive feelings toward them.  When I do good to someone who has been mean toward me, it is so unexpected, it will make them wonder what is going on.  It may also bring them to repent and seek the forgiveness of God, and that is the ultimate outcome.