When I was young, I often played the game Mercy. It’s a simple game, really.
You and your opponent take both of your hands and intertwine them with each other’s. You then proceed to bend them back trying to “win the game.” When it starts to hurt beyond what you can handle, you merely yell, “Mercy!” and your opponent stops. Whoever yells “Mercy!” is the loser.
Webster defines mercy as this: Compassion shown to an offender; imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder.
In the Christian life, we are far from losers when we are given mercy. Not only was Christ’s sacrifice on the cross full of grace, but also full of mercy! We deserved that cross, not Jesus. We are the offenders, not Him. But God showed us his amazing compassion by not giving us what we deserve.
We readily accept that mercy from God and are so thankful that we aren’t given what we truly deserve. But as fast as we receive God’s mercy in our lives, we have a hard time extending it to others–for example, when we don’t forgive someone for hurting us, even though we’ve been forgiven so much (Romans 5:8).
Or when we hoard our resources during a plentiful time because we’ve forgotten what it was like to be in need.
Or it could be something as simple as not allowing a car to merge into our lane on the highway when we were just extended the same act by another kind driver.
The mercy of God is more than our finite minds will ever be able to comprehend.
We will never understand how the Creator of the Universe sent His Son to our broken earth in order to redeem mankind (Isaiah 55:8-9).
We will never grasp how wide and high and deep the love of God is (Ephesians 3:18).
But even though we don’t fully get it, it doesn’t mean we can’t receive it with open arms and rest in our eternal security through Christ’s death on the cross.
And I believe that when we really receive that and see that we don’t deserve all that’s been sent our way by a kind and loving God, we can then extend that same mercy to others.
“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.” Ephesians 2:4-5
by Cindy Beall