**With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful…** Psalm 18:25
Maybe someone has felt like me and wanted to gossip about a gossiper or criticize a critic? Maybe someone has thrown verbal mud at you and you are just aching to throw some back?
Totally transparency… sometimes, it is just hard to turn the other cheek. And payback feels so good. At least for a minute or two.
In the last few posts we have talked about the Fruit of the Spirit…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. These last two ‘fruits’ require an understanding of God’s mercy.
How I understand mercy is this way….I have done a million wrong things in my life. I have said and done things that I am not proud of. I have acted and reacted in ways that do not please me or my God.
What I deserve for all of this behavior is …well….Payback. Pain. Suffering. Misery. Hell on Earth or the real Hell, plain and simple.
The thing is that my God doesn’t see it that way. He has chosen to forgive all of those millions of bad things and forget all about them! THAT is mercy! I deserve the worse and God says, no. He says, I forgive you. Let’s start again. Every day.
Every single day I get a clean slate with God.
So, now, I have a choice. I can be me. And yell back. I can criticize and gossip like those who talk about me. I can hold everyone around me accountable for their millions of things. I can decide that I am a better judge and jury than God is. I can meet out vengeance. I can make them pay. I can hold them at arm’s length. I can give them what they deserve. I can put them in friendship prison.
Or I can be merciful like God has been with me. I can say, and I can decide, that I forgive them. I can give them a fresh start today. I can forget the past and start over with them. Every day.
You see, mercy requires meekness. It requires an understanding that I am NOT better than them. I am NOT God’s gift to mankind.
It also requires temperance (self-control). Controlling my reactions. Controlling my emotions. Controlling my desire to fight back.
The thing is that I am not capable of exhibiting so much mercy, meekness and temperance. I am not capable of true forgiveness.
But my God is.
When someone comes at me, whether I deserve it or not, my inclination is to fight back and let them have it.
But my heart’s desire is that I would be like my God. So, I ask Him to do it for me.
I tell Him straight out that it is just not in my wheelhouse. I am NOT merciful. I am NOT meek. I’m sorry, God, but I just can’t do it.
But I know He can.
So, would He please help me to be merciful just this once? Would He please just take away the anger and the hurt and the frustration and give me a merciful heart?
And He does. All of a sudden, I calm down. I am at peace and I can be merciful to my offender.
Better yet. Tomorrow, when it happens again, when someone has it out for me, I can ask Him and He’ll be there again to trade my ugly for His Beautiful.
If you ever have a problem, like I do, with wanting to dole out some satisfying payback, just give it to God. He will transform those feelings and those uglies into mercy…forgiveness…and self-control.
You will surprise yourself when you realize that you just yielded a little bit of the Fruit of His Spirit – Mercy.