Posts Tagged 'mercy'

My Grandfather used to say “Have mercy” or “mercy” a lot when we would visit (four rowdy kids barging through the door all at once is probably reason enough). It was just another expression of mild woe similar to the Yiddish “oy vey” or a “sheesh” or a “oh my.” I never really thought much of it, other than it was pretty neat because nobody used it anymore. At least not in that way. I said it a lot as a kid. Sort of. When an older brother is smothering you and there’s nothing to do but give in, some sort of phrase calling for mercy was necessary.

Unfortunately, many Christians treat mercy the way my older brothers did. I’m right, you’re wrong, and I’ll beat you up until you give in. They look at mercy as something that is given when the other person submits to them. I suppose you could argue that that is ultimately how it works with God. When we submit ourselves to Him, He gives us mercy. His mercy is offered before we submit, but still contingent on a submission of our will to His.

At first I was going to compare our view of mercy with the use of the word for a generation as slang. But after thinking about it for awhile, maybe they had it right. Maybe our calls for mercy should permeate our daily lives. When we are tempted to roll our eyes and get disgusted, angered, or feel empty pity, we should call for mercy.

I believe that we should judge the sin of our brothers (so that we can restore them), but mercy is more important than judgment. (Note that mercy given is not equal to ignoring or allowing sin.) In fact, mercy is so much more important than judgment that James says to “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (2:12-13 NIV)

What do you know, mercy wins.

So for everybody that writes for, comments on, or reads articles posted on this website: “Have mercy!”

Have mercy for each other when another says something condemnable (especially when you’ve probably done it too or wanted to do it.) Can we correct? Yes. But do it gently with a loving heart. If you are angry, perturbed, or whatever, just don’t type. A number of us have shown that we have trouble not sinning in our anger.

I’m sure this post could have been written better. I’m sure I should have said something more, I’m sure that at times I say things I shouldn’t. But please, have mercy.

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There have been a number of comments lately that show the uncompassionate, unloving, unkind, harsh, hard hearts of those writing them.  I suppose we all have our moments, but as new creations in Christ, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Not only that, but we are to love each other as Christ loved us.  Those recent comments, my current situation, and Rambo have all come together to open up my heart.

Being in the middle of a high impact natural disaster (I live in a small town on the Mississippi river that will flood most of the buildins on Main St. by next week), I’ve been thinking a lot about questions like the above.  After the second day of sandbagging, I finally had to quit early and so I got some time to finally watch Rambo (the new one) which we’ve had from Netflix for days.  I was surprised at how intensely the film dealt with similar issues and questions I have been thinking on. 

I was surprised to very quickly learn that this Rambo wasn’t really about John Rambo, is about the suffering of the people of Burma.  Stalone often likes to say something meaningful in his films, and for this one he found out about the awful situation (pre-natural disaster, so you can imagine how much worse it is now) of the Burmese under the rule of the military.  Of course, there’s lots of gory action, but I’d still recommend any adult to see it, partly because the gore is not out of place.  In fact, you’ll find some tame pictures on the sites listed below that provide the evidence for the brutatlity visualized for you in Rambo. 

The most convicting part of the film was the dedication to action of the Christians in the film.  One thing that gets me, both locally for our flood, and globally for situations like Burma, is how churches and christians can sit around and do nothing yet people who do not know the grace of God through Jesus Christ do everything from helping to fill sandbags to save a few homes to struggling for the lives of people half a world away.

If we don’t do what we are taught in scripture, does it have any value for our lives?  What does it take for us to love our neighbors?

Father, forgive us for walking on the other side of the street pretending not to see the need of our neighbor.  Create in us a heart of compassion.  Use us in your work to transform us into little Christs.

Watch the movie if you haven’t seen it yet.  In the mean time, check out these websites:

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