MERCY: Compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm

Have you ever felt like you’ve done something that you couldn’t be forgiven for? How has that molded your thoughts, actions, character and disposition towards others or even yourself since that time? Has it made you bitter, resentful, hateful or depressed? Jesus said something wonderful once, “If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Free from what? Guilt, condemnation and the power of sin! How do you view Almighty God in your mind and heart?
Do you think of Him when you hear the word MERCY? If not, you should. Years ago before I was married, I worked with a young guy named Daryl. We became friends and I ate dinner once or twice with him, his wife and young daughter at their apartment. I had invited them to church with me for one Sunday when I knew I was off. As it turned out, Daryl had to work but his wife and daughter went with me. On the way and in my car, Tamara revealed that she felt alienated from God because of her sin of abortion years before. She was now convicted, guilty and remorseful. (Those are good and appropriate feelings, by the way. They can lead to repentance and salvation). However, somewhere along the way, she had never heard, knew of, or asked for God’s abundant mercy and the forgiveness she could receive through JESUS CHRIST.
Let me tell you of a couple of men who, when believers hear their names, they think of mighty men of God; one is even referred to in the Bible apart from his sin as “a man after God’s own heart.” You can and definitely should read for yourselves the two separate accounts of these saints of the Living Lord. King David’s story is found in 2 Samuel chapter 11, and Saul (this name means “asked for” or “prayed for”) of Tarsus’ story is in both Acts 7:54- 8:3 and chapter 9, verses 1-19. These are true, biblical, historical stories seen by witnesses which detail the horrible sins committed by two men who received unprecedented mercy from the God of the universe; the same God who is willing to show the same mercy, forgiveness and cleansing of soul to you!
The unsaved man who claimed to know God’s Word was named Saul prior to his amazing and personal encounter with the risen Christ. So zealous was he in his misguided and hardened heart, he went about persecuting the believers. He went so far of his own accord as to have the Roman authorities give him a letter which authorized him to seek out early Christians- even in their churches and homes- and have them put in prison! He also held the coats of men, supported them in their actions and stood by watching as they stoned a Holy Spirit-filled believer by the name of Stephen as he shared with them the Good News of the gospel of salvation from sins.
If God had rightly executed His sovereign judgment only, Saul would quite probably have been put in jail himself or even killed. But in His infinite mercy, Jesus Himself appeared to Saul and told him that God had intended to use him as a vessel to not only receive undeserved forgiveness, but to travel the world telling others about the truth of God, the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection from the dead. The man who was renamed Paul (which means “small” and “humble”) by Jesus became God’s instrument to preach unheard of salvation by grace through faith! WOW! What wonderful mercy! This just proves to us the truth that God has created each and every one of us uniquely, in love and with an individualized purpose. We never find out what that purpose is apart from walking with God who reveals it to us bit by bit as we follow Him. The apostle Paul turned out to be the greatest preacher and evangelist (apart from Jesus) who ever lived. He even wrote- directly inspired by the Holy Spirit of God- most of the New Testament of the Holy Bible which, by the way, remains the best-selling book of all time.
Concerning the mercy of God towards a man who was sought out by an appointed prophet of God as a teenager to be anointed and to become the next King of Israel, David was living out the Lord’s plan for his life and leading God’s chosen people. Even while being a holy man, he was a man with pride and temptations as anyone else. If you read the story, you now know that David not only committed adultery against his own wife by acting on the temporary lust in his heart when he unexpectedly saw a beautiful woman bathing on her rooftop, but he committed adultery against Uriah, the woman’s husband. To make matters worse, David attempted to cover up his sin by purposely putting Uriah- who was already fighting in the King’s war at the time- in the most dangerous and deadly place on the battlefield, allowing him to be killed.
God used another prophet to reveal his sin to him by way of a similar-sounding parable. Nathan asked David afterward what he thought should be done to the man in the parable. David responded that he should most certainly be killed! When the prophet bluntly revealed that David was the man who had so wickedly sinned through both sexual sin and murder, David was overwhelmingly grieved, burdened and repentant before Almighty God for his evil. God, in His unparalleled mercy and love, forgave His servant the King. But the consequence in the here and now was that the baby who was born to him and Bathsheba (the bathing woman whom he later took to be his wife) as a result of his iniquity was killed and taken away from them. In addition, David’s oldest son Absalom later betrayed his father by attempting to kill him and take over his throne.
So, no matter what you have done and no matter what you have wrongfully heard or thought about Almighty God- He is the Lawgiver and just Judge to be sure- He tells us in the book of James 2:13, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” There can be no mercy without God’s perfect Love. Romans 6:23 should excite us as it says, “The wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT of God is ETERNAL LIFE in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is indeed Good News! In fact, it is the best! Not only can we escape a just death sentence in Hell for sinning willfully and repeatedly against the Holy and Mighty God who created the heavens and the earth, but the punishment that must be carried out in order for divine and righteous justice to be fulfilled was paid by God Himself- Jesus Christ the Messiah and Savior of the entire world!!! Does this hit you square in your heart? Humble yourself, cry out to God in sincere gratitude and true sorrow, and ask Him to grant you the same unbelievable MERCY He showed Paul, David and millions of others before you and me. Receive everlasting life today!

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