Mercy is risky. Often it is easier to talk about it, but mercy can be scary sometimes, and even a little unpredictable. You risk being abused and disappointed.
Mercy is lonely. Being Jesus-love to someone who, by the world’s standards (backed by sinful hearts and attitudes), is not accepted or or desired is not easy. It will often leave you feeling lonely. But it is important to remember that as children of God we are never, ever alone. (Deut 13:6)
Because of this, mercy can be scary.
Mercy is inconvenient. Mercy means taking time away from the comforts of your home to be there for a friend who really needs you. It means calling that person who opened up about a major struggle and following up with them, maybe even going to their house when they won’t return your calls. It means choosing patience and positivity when you’re exhausted. It means forgiving someone, showing grace, or offering encouragement. Mercy is rarely convenient.
The ultimate display of mercy cost the Son of God his very life. It temporarily separated him from the love of the Father… mercy’s cost. The gospel compels me to show mercy, and I need to keep this truth before me if I am going to live a life of mercy.
The only way to persevere is found in knowing and believing the love God has displayed and continues to display. Paul writes, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). The testimony of the Bible tells us God did not give mercy to people who were “worth it,” or even to those who actively tried to acquire it. Instead, He gave mercy to those who hated him, who didn’t even want to know him. We have the ability to persist in the face of discouragement, or difficulty, or a testing moment, when the Gospel is the fuel behind our act of mercy.
There can be some hesitation in mercy, even some fear. But when you know the God of mercy, the being from which mercy most freely flows, fear can subside.
A good friend of mine made this statement recently: “It’s a miracle to uproot a piece of your identity. It’s a miracle because it’s impossible to accomplish on your own.” I know that Jesus must roll his sleeves up every time I ask Him to work something new in me, to transform my heart.
Mercy…. the best I can muster, as often as I can muster.