Along with my somewhat frequent posts on hair, I wanted to start posting on faith as well. The following is a devotion I wrote for our church’s compilation of Lenten devotions. The subject is mercy, which I love receiving, but admittedly struggle giving.
’12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers,[a] who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.’
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines mercy as: ”compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power.” In other words, it’s extending grace to an individual or group of people who may not necessarily deserve it. It’s laying down the sword when by most accounts we would be well justified in swinging it. Most of the time showing mercy is accompanied by setting aside pride and our own hurts, past and present. It’s not something that comes naturally to us, but It’s something Jesus was in regular habit of doing. It’s often a thankless job, as people (myself included) are quick to forget tender mercies shown them. If we were to continue reading in the above passage from Luke, we would see that of the ten lepers Jesus healed, only one returned to thank Him. Only one.
Which got me to thinking…do I thank Jesus for the mercies shown me? Is this something I am in a habit of doing on a daily basis? Not just a “Thank you” and now I’ll be on my way, type of thank you. No, the kind of thanks I am talking about is a face down, worshipping, in-awe reverent type of thank you. A thank you that recognizes that the mercy He has shown me is life-altering. Honestly, the kind of thank you I want to send up to my Savior is a life lived in reflection of the awesome mercy shown me.
But it’s hard. Sinful nature gets in the way. Sinful nature tells us it’s all about us. That we have a right to hold on to our pride. That people who have hurt us are undeserving of mercy. Which is true…most people don’t deserve mercy. We certainly didn’t…but Christ went to the cross just as much for you as He did for me, in His ultimate act of mercy. You didn’t deserve it, and I certainly didn’t either. By definition, if we were deserving of this gift, it wouldn’t be mercy. Yet Christ freely gave it.
So today I challenge all of us to extend mercy…not because the recipient is particularly deserving, but because they aren’t. It’s the example Jesus set, and one he calls us to follow. More of you, Jesus, and less of me.
Dear Lord, we thank you for your undeserved, daily mercies in our lives. Thank you, Lord, for your Son Jesus and the example he gave us to follow. Help us, Lord, to put off our old-selves, and be increasingly transformed in the likeness of Your Son. Help us to extend mercy to others, and give us the strength to do so, even when it’s hard. We love you, and pray these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.