Last Saturday I had to be at church by 10:00 am for a craft project with a bunch of women at church. I had invited my daughter to go.
Well, I slept through my alarm. I actually woke up at 8:30 am. This wouldn’t have been bad if I was going to the church alone. However, all I had time to do was get throw myself together and let our two dogs out. Then I jumped in the car to pick up my daughter. Afterwards, we had to drive to the church, located in Orange, Texas, which is an additional twenty minutes away from her apartment.
Don’t you know when you’re in a hurry you always get behind a slow poke driving 50 mph on a 75 mph road? It’s always a two lane road too! Thus was my situation. I found myself behind an old, dirty work truck of some sort and he was just taking his time. I did real good following the speed limits, like I normally do. I usually am not the speed demon (with a few exceptions). I arrived at my daughter’s apartment and waited impatiently for her.
Finally, we are heading out of Bridge City, Texas crossing over the bridge toward Orange. I’m not paying attention to my speed and know I’m not creeping, but know the speed increases slightly over the bridge. Long story short, I see a cop right past the bridge. That’s when I check my speedometer. I always check my speedometer when I see a cop car, even when I’m going the speed limit (am I the only one that does this?).The lights of the cop car come on and my daughter assures me that they are for me. I mutter something out loud as she asks me if I was speeding. I mentioned the speed increases and pull over while Ashley is telling me the speed limit is 45 mph over the bridge.
A lady cop comes to my driver’s side door and says she’s stopping me for speeding. I was going 60 in a 45. She asks me a few questions, I give her my insurance and registration and hand her my license. She returns to her car. My daughter is talking to me and all I can hear is the voice in my head saying I’m going to get a ticket. I then catch myself saying to my daughter that her dad’s going to be so mad at me. Then it hits me what I’m actually speaking out loud. Immediately my thoughts turn to the Lord and I say “Mercy, Lord”. In my mind I’m praying I don’t get a ticket. Bridge City cops are notorious ticket writers.
I’m watching her in my side mirror as she’s returning to my car. I see a pink slip in her hand. She is standing beside me within a couple minutes explaining to me she is giving me a warning for the speed instead of a speeding ticket! Glory be to God for his mercy!
Did you know that God is not only a faithful God, a loving God and a forgiving God, but he is a merciful God! I’m not just talking about small things like speeding tickets, but with all things and all people.
The Bible says in Lamentations that God’s mercies are new every day. Read Lamentations 3:22-23
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
I thank God that his mercies are new every day. I mess up a lot. Who doesn’t? However, sometimes I lose sight of the fact that I am to show as much mercy to others that God has shown and continually shows to me. God commands that you show mercy in Luke 6:36
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone…
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times…
Jesus goes on to tell Peter a parable about a King wanting to collect what one of his servants owes him. This servant owed the King more than he could ever make in a lifetime. The King had ordered the man, his family and all he owned be sold to repay the debt. However, when the servant pleaded with him for mercy, the King gave it to him and forgave all his debt. Later, that same servant went and found a fellow servant who owed him money and demanded repayment. When his fellow servant pleaded for mercy, he gave him none and had him thrown in jail. The other servants saw this and told the King. The King was very upset with the wickedness of this servant whom he had forgiven so much debt. The King asked him shouldn’t he have shown the same mercy that was given to him? Then, angry, the King handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could repay the debt.
Jesus then says in Matthew 18:35
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
God observes how you treat others. The consequence of James 2:13, because judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful, proves to be true in the parable spoken above. The verse continues on to say Mercy triumphs over judgment.
When God shows you mercy, he doesn’t even remember your sins. He says in Hebrews 8:12
For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins will I remember no more.
He expects you to show the same mercy to others. The reward for showing mercy to others is receiving mercy yourself. It says so in Matthew 5:7
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
It is very important not to let bitterness take root in your heart over something wrong that’s been done to you. It is impossible to show mercy to someone with underlying bitterness in your heart. When there is bitterness, mercy can’t be genuine no matter what words you say.
I’m not saying showing mercy is easy. Far from it! Mercy is something you have to practice. Begin by showing mercy to one person you don’t believe deserves it. Then pick someone else or another situation. Soon, mercy will become a way of life to you. Don’t misunderstand showing mercy as being a doormat. There is a time to stand up and speak out, but let God guide you as to when those times should be.
I’m not saying that by showing mercy, it condones the wrong someone may have done to you. I’m not saying that your relationship with that person has to be the same as it’s always been in the past. It won’t be, even if you salvage the relationship. And sometimes, a relationship can’t be salvaged. It’s going to take you to be the stronger, more mature person. God will give you the grace to do so. God’s grace is always sufficient for you.
Show mercy to others. Then pray for the ones that hurt you. Then release it to the Lord. That is the best thing to do. Also, remember, you WILL reap what you sow.