For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6
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This verse has long been one of the most cherished scriptures to me. To think that He "who spared not his own son" - choosing rather to sacrifice Him on Calvary for our sake, desires mercy and not sacrifice is an awesome concept.
What is even more astonishing is that the Creator and Master of the universe, is willing to place His desire in our hands, knowing that we will often fail to give Him the desires of His heart.
What is this mercy that God so desires?
It is more than just refraining from punishing or harming others, even when we think they deserve it. One definition is that it is "kindness in excess of what may be expected or demanded by fairness."
Oh, ouch! I like to think that I am a reasonable and fair person. But when "fairness" would require a certain price, exact a certain penalty, am I then willing to show mercy, just because it will please the heart of God?
The neighbor who revs his motorcycle engine at 3:00 a.m. - for the fourth night in a row - am I willing to pray for his salvation as I lay awake for hours, unable to go back to sleep, long after he has gone to bed to sleep off his drunken stupor?
The extended family member, who asks that I spend a holiday afternoon with others who have been rude and demeaning toward me in the past - am I willing to show mercy, and extend kindness beyond what fairness would require?
The school bully, who threatens one of my children or grandchildren, and whose parent then justifies their child's meaness by berating my child's "wimpiness" - am I willing to show mercy, knowing none has or will be shown to me and mine?
These are not hypothetical questions, but rather they are examples of where the mercy God desires from us faces the reality of the world in which we live. It has often been said, "Life is not fair."
This is true, however much we might wish it were otherwise. But are we willing, as Christians, to go beyond an acknowledgement of this reality, to show mercy beyond what fairness would require? God desires it. Am I willing to give Him what He desires, despite how difficult and unnatural it may feel to me?
Only He knows the answer to this question as He examines my heart, and observes my walk before Him each day. The extent to which I am willing to show mercy, is the measure of my "acknowledgement" of God in my life. This is a hard truth.
Thank God, His word tells us that "Mercy triumphs over judgment."
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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!
James 2:12-13 * * *
Our hostess today is Nina at Mama's Little Treasures. Please join her for thoughts on today's In Other Words quote.