How does God do it? How does He give mercy to those so undeserving like me? His mercy is incredible. David, the man after God’s own heart, praises God for His mercy over and over. I wonder, why aren’t we all more amazed by God’s mercy? This thought leads to another important question “Why?” Why does God flood this world with mercy?
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” Mercy is the only answer if you love the world you created. And God does. He loves the world for sure, and most of all He loves the people He created in His own image. These people are hopeless without His mercy (I agree with Einstein there is no limit to human stupidity). The people that don’t recognize God’s mercy are in need of it the most. The main lesson the universe teaches us is that it is far beyond the human mind’s ability to understand it. I love how far we have come. The more we understand about the universe, the more we discover that it needs to be explored. It is a never-ending journey.
Hence God’s great gift of mercy. Mercy is so simple. You need it, God has it. Mercy alone can solve the problem of sin and a Holy God who cannot be one with unholy people. If holiness is impossible, find a way to grant mercy. Mercy is infinite and mercy is finite. God did not set a limit on His mercy. It will not run out. God has enough mercy for every sin I’ve ever committed—past, present and future. He has enough mercy for every sin that has ever been committed in His universe. His mercy is infinite. His mercy is finite only in this way: He has set a limit on my ability to receive His mercy, and that is my lifetime that is limited to living on earth in the fallen state.
Jesus told a story about mercy in the Parable of the Tax Collector and the Pharisee found in Luke 18:9-14. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed—thanking God that he didn’t need mercy because of his list of his own merits. BUT—I love the buts in Scripture—Verse 13 says:
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me a, a sinner.’”
Jesus told the disciples that it was the man who saw himself clearly in need of mercy that was heard that day in the Temple. The man who exalted himself was not justified before God. God justifies us through mercy, not our merit.
Mercy is the way we are brought into relationship with God, and it is what sustains our relationship with God. God’s mercy is so essential to relationship with Him that He extends the reach of mercy beyond Him and us. He asks us to be merciful to others so that we can maintain our merciful connection to Him. James 2:12-13 explains:
“Speak and act as those who are gong 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.”
Do you want judgment without mercy?
Catherine of Sienna describes God’s view of Christians who have been given infinite mercy being unwilling to practice mercy in all their relationships: “Love said to me, ‘I don’t like your cruelty to others, and unless you start being compassionate and kind, you’ll soon find yourself robbed of my mercy. Sometimes your bad attitude makes you say hateful words, and if you’re not careful, these may be followed often enough by murder. Other times, your insolence leads to your being abusive, and you become a horrible monster, poisoning not only one or two but anyone who might come near you in love of fellowship.’”
Mercy me, I want to live a life of mercy. I live it selfishly because I sure don’t want God’s mercy to run out on me, yet ultimately unselfishly as I recognize that showing mercy brings me closer to my true self and the person God made me to be.