God’s Mercy is no longer recognized by many in today’s environment. Nearly everything is acceptable, forgiveness is granted without repentance, and many popular Churches simply choose to ignore consequences of poor choices. As a result, God’s Mercy is unappreciated. “Mercy is when we are spared from judgment or harm. But when churches refuse to preach on “hell” and “judgment,” then there is less and less need to talk about “mercy.” It will be a word that is gradually phased out of sermons. God just becomes the “Good Guy” that would not even think of harming or judging anyone, so the subject of “mercy” never arises.” (Liberty Tracts).
Mercy is defined as ‘not getting what you deserve’. Perhaps, it’s part of the ‘Age of Entitlement’. Folks have been taught that they deserve and have a right to many things. Many loudly proclaim that they have ‘rights’ to this and that, and consequently devalue Mercy. They boldly demand their rights, rather than beseeching for Mercy. They believe they are entitled to everything they receive, including forgiveness.
Num 32:23 (NIV) ‘…You may be sure your sin will find you out.’… “Is God ineffective at making “sure our sin finds us out”? Are we really getting away with it? Can we continue to count on God’s mercy if we remain unrepentant?” (Acts 17:11 BibleStudies). Without the recognition of Mercy, we find it difficult to be grateful. If folks aren’t to receive consequences for wrong behaviour, can they truly be grateful when they haven’t received what they rightly deserved? Without the understanding that consequences have been withheld, how will they recognize the Mercy they have received? Gradually, God’s Mercy is taken for granted. Rom 2:5 (Phi) ‘Or are you by your obstinate refusal to repent simply storing up for yourself an experience of the wrath of God in the day of his anger when he shows his hand in righteous judgment?’
“Yes, an unconditional pardon can be granted without the offender ever knowing they’ve hurt us. But this one-sided “forgiveness” is not in our best interest, nor in the best interest of the person who hurt us. It devalues the significance of repentance and robs both the offender and us of the opportunity to grow in Christ. The ultimate purpose of forgiveness is the healing of a relationship. This healing occurs only when the offender repents and demonstrates remorse and the offended one grants a pardon and demonstrates loving acceptance.” (Questions.org).
“Repentance is important because it’s a person’s only hope for real change. If we don’t admit our sin, it’s impossible to be transformed. If we aren’t keenly aware of the sinful direction our lives are going, we will not see a need to adjust the direction. Repentance demonstrates that we need God to help us change our thinking, attitudes, and behavior.” (Allison Stevens). Sometimes, the most loving thing we can do for a person is to withhold forgiveness so they may see the error of their ways, taste the consequences of their actions, and by doing so call out to God for His Mercy. Rebuking, admonishing, repenting, chastising, reproving, etc. are not taught to any great extent in the modern churches. The emphasis is mostly on being ‘positive’, forgiving all at all times, not feeling anger or grief because such is viewed as being ‘negative’. Consequently, folks whose child has been murdered are left in a quandary. Their child’s spilt blood calls out to be avenged. Yet, they are told they must forgive for ‘vengeance is the Lord’s’. Surely, we must all be willing to forgive anyone who repents as God is. Truly Vengeance is the Lord’s. But by not permitting a murderer to suffer consequences, is there any real hope for that murderer to repent and cry out for God’s Mercy and forgiveness? When we tell those parents they must forgive the murderer of their child or God will not forgive them, where is God’s Mercy in that towards those grieving parents? Do they have any ‘rights’, or is it only the murderer who has ‘rights’? Do we truly believe those parents will then be ‘set free’ of their anger if they simply forgive? Is it the loving thing to do to let that murderer go free without any consequences so that he may then possibly murder another parents’ child?
If you think this is a rare situation, think again. To my dismay, I have heard many such horror stories. Far too many parents who desire to do God’s will are faced with this dilemma on top of their excruciatingly painful loss of their beloved child. Often, it is they who will turn away from God in the end because of such teachings and condemnation for pursuing justice for their child.
Micah 6:8 (NIV) He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Luke 1:50 (NIV) “His mercy extends to those who fear him…”
Let us show Mercy, but when doing so, not neglect to act justly.
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728 Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))