“Lord have mercy”. I have heard this repeated a hundred times over but to be honest it wasn’t until this year that I started to even grasp what mercy was. I had to learn the hard way though as I tend to do.
What was mercy? Was it pacification? Was mercy going to make me seem weak? Would I get walked all over if I had too much mercy? I worried a lot about ME. Yet in those same moments, I was crying out for mercy from those around me. Thinking thoughts like “Why won’t people have more grace for me? I am human too!”
My thoughts around the whole topic of mercy just got me frustrated.
When I tried to study the scriptures, they made no sense to me. “His mercies are new every morning… abounding in mercy”…what? #helpmeJesus
Then I stumbled upon the book of Joel one night after a day of disobedience and a hardened heart towards God
I read the story and was dumbfounded. I have no idea how I ended up in this book but I’ll recap it for you.
The people of Judah were in HUGE trouble. I mean grounded for life, no tv, no sweets trouble. God was shutting everything down. He was declaring that everything would be destroyed. Their harvest, the very thing they were going to have to have to survive on, was going to be wiped out. It was not a good time for these people. So the priests frantically called a fast and declared that they should express their godly sorrow for their behavior and maybe, just maybe, God would forgive them and leave a blessing. God too called them to repent. He urged them to fast and be inwardly sorrowful and to really own that they were deserving of punishment.
So the people fasted. They prayed and repented. And then out of nowhere, He has pity on them. Just like that. He has every right and opportunity to utterly destroy them. I mean WWF slam their whole city. And He stops. He says never mind. He not only doesn’t destroy them, He promises and bestows upon them more than they could ask or imagine. He promises and overflow of wheat, wine and oil. He promises His spirit up on the people, He promises to restore lost time. I mean what?! He went from being ready to wipe them out to exceeding their original circumstances.
I was just dumbfounded. This. THIS is mercy.
What kind of love is this that takes an opportunity to punish and ends up adding an abundance of blessing?
So now when I think about how His mercies are new every morning I wake up thinking – He longs to be good to me. He longs to turn a time of punishment into a time of blessing. It makes me so eager to be honest with HIm. So anxious to repent! To confess what I have done because I will not be met with discgrace or disgust. I will not be met with a distant love or an unforgiving rebuke. But with loving correction. Overwhelming grace. abundant mercy.
And now that I have received mercy, I can give mercy. I can cover the offenses of the repentful. I can turn moments where I am “entitled” to wrath into moment of intense and overwhelming kindness. I can welcome the wayward with hugs and not condemnation.
Lord, Have mercy. & Help us to have mercy too.
Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.- 1 Peter 2:10