Made for another world

"If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mercy Looking Backward ~ Forgiveness

A while back I prayed a prayer to understand God's heart, which plunged me into a season of discovering mercy. Most recently God has been teaching me about forgiveness and it's connection to a merciful life. What is forgiveness other than Mercy looking backward, taking root and painting the past in new shades? Mercy is forgiveness swallowing up what has been.

It's impossible to pray to understand mercy, ask to love it, to be a partner to it, without mercy calling at our own front door. I suppose initially I had assumed mercy was for those people over there, not realizing God would call me to a higher standard of living out mercy right at home. I'm learning to be careful what I pray for, it will always be a longer journey and require more participation on my part than I had bargained for!

We're meant to embrace mercy in the present, by living with a heart not easily offended. But for the times we pick up an offense there's forgiveness, an opportunity to extended the mercy we didn't in the present. I know people struggle with forgiveness so often, I have. But I wonder if that's because we don't understand the power, the need, the design for us to live in mercy. Whenever I struggle with living in mercy I remember these verses:
Moses responded, "Then show me your glorious presence."  
The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. Exodus 33:18-19
I'm always amazed at how God revealed himself when Moses asked to see his glory. God could have displayed his holiness, his creativity, his righteousness, power, or justice, but instead it was his goodness, his mercy, and his compassion that he revealed. What does that say about God, who he is, what he values, and how he relates to us?

If mercy is who God is and how he responds to man, isn't that how we should respond to one another? No one can offend us more than we have offended God. When we are aware of the mercy we've received we are happy to give mercy to others.

If you're struggling to forgive someone it may help to realize that forgiveness is God's second chance to get mercy right, to extend mercy backward.

Can I pray for us? Father, by the power of your Spirit will you work the wonder of your mercy into our hearts. That we will live as people with hearts not easily offended, and when they are help us to look back over our shoulder with forgiveness. Set us free from the selfish motives we stoop to, when we make others pay for an offense, and release us to accept the payment of your Son on behalf of others. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing you sweet comments!