The new you… merciful!
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
Yesterday, we recounted the story of the king and the unfaithful servant. Jesus told us that this part of the story was how we should see God… Just, but merciful. His desire is to show us His compassion, to display His goodness – to pour out His favor.
But, as we all know, there is a second part of Jesus’ story. This second part is to teach us HOW to respond to the merciful kindness of God.
You would think that someone who had been forgiven a debt of millions of dollars would be full of joy, and eager to show kindness. But Jesus’ story of the unmerciful servant (after his debt was forgiven) reveals just the opposite.
Jesus goes on to tell us that the “forgiven” servant went out and found someone who owed him just a few bucks. Jesus said the servant seized him and “began to choke him, saying: ‘Pay what you owe!’” This second debtor employed the same tactic of humility that the unfaithful servant had used. But, this time, to no avail. The one who was forgiven the huge debt, would not extend the slightest kindness or mercy to the one with the small debt. The forgiven one… would not forgive. Instead, the one with the small debt was thrown “in prison until he should pay the debt.”
Now, let’s think about this for a little bit. It would be easy for us to condemn the unmerciful servant for his acts. They were deplorable – expecially in the light of what he had just experienced. We all know that those who receive mercy should be eager to give it in return.
But when it comes to the mercy of God, there can be two great struggles within us.
Over these next two days, we will look at these two prominent struggles…
1) We tend to want to prove to God that His kindness was warranted. There is something within us that seems to want to prove that God made a “good call” in forgiving us. We want to repay Him for His unrepayable kindness.
This is exactly what we see in the case of the unmerciful servant. In spite of the fact that he could never repay that much money, his motivation was, apparently, to repay the debt that was completely forgiven. What he owed, what was forgiven, he was going to pay back anyway.
But what God wants us to understand is that there is NO way to repay the debt we owe (that’s one of the reasons why Jesus said the debt was so ridiculously high!). When we finally understand how much our sin offends a Holy God, we can begin to understand how huge our debt, to Him, really is!
God is not asking to repay our debt to Him – He is asking us to display the mercy that caused Him to cancel our debt.
Our task is simple… we have received unbelievable mercy – and what we have received, we should give – without reserve, without regret, without limits.
This is what the new you longs to do.
Prayer focus: God, help me to be eager to show your mercy, without limits.