The new you… merciful and grateful!
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
Yesterday, we talked about what the unfaithful servant did after he had received the mercy of the king. He chose not extend the mercy he had received – instead, he came up with a plan to repay the debt that had already been forgiven.
We ended up recognizing that this is one of the struggles we all face, when it comes to the mercy of God. There is just something within us that wants to affirm God’s decision to forgive us. But, in the end, we just cannot repay what is unrepayable. Fortunately, God doesn’t ever ask us to do so. His desire is that we simply take what we have received and give it out – that we become living examples of His unlimited mercy.
A second struggle that is common in those who have received God’s mercy…
2) We tend to forget the massive debt we owed. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we were not just marginally sinful (but mostly good). We tend to feel: we were forgiven, alright – but it really wasn’t that big a deal (we were really pretty okay with God, we just needed a few “tweaks”). However, The Bible says we were ALL rotten to the core (full of selfish thoughts and actions). Read Romans 3:10-18. The picture is bleak. We were all a mess. To say we really weren’t, reveals an even bigger problem (we have lost sight of the offensiveness of any, and all, sin to God!)
The problem with “forgiveness lite” is that we tend to be ungrateful and unloving towards God… and other people.
Jesus said it best. “He who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47) If we have the sense that our sins were just “small change,” then we will never really understand the depth of the mercy we have received. And what is more, we will never be grateful enough to be an example of His unlimited mercy.
The truth is: we can only give out what we have within us. And if what is in us is small and insignificant, then so will be our giving in these matters.
In a very real sense, we will not love as God loves OR give as God gives, until we have been captured by the fact that we were a horrible, sinful mess – and God chose to pour out His mercy on us, nonetheless. Our love for humanity (especially unlovable humanity) is largely dependent upon our understanding of the immeasurable love that God has shown towards us.
We were lost. Helpless. Hopeless. Enemies of God. Dead to Him. Cursed. Judged. Condemned. Destined for eternal punishment.
And in that very state… God chose to pour out His mercy upon us. He chose to send His Son to make a way to forgive us. And to welcome us as His very Own children.
Welcome to the new you… full of gratitude, and eager to give, God’s mercy.
Prayer focus: God, help me to be ever-mindful of the depths of my former sinful state… and of the extent of Your mercy to me.