The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
This phrase really stuck out to me this past weekend. I not only heard it more than once, but read this phrase in a book I had started last week. It’s almost as if God was trying to teach me something. And I think he did. Mercy, as simply as I can define it is: not receiving the punishment of evil that one deserves. Here is what I have come to realize:
Mercy is necessary. Mercy is necessary in order to have a properly functioning family. If a family does not show one another mercy, then it will ultimately implode. A family without mercy is a family that is constantly pointing out each other’s flaws and failures; a family where encouragement is desperately lacking; and a family where frustration with one another will ultimately give way to apathy towards each member.
Mercy is necessary in society. A society or even a large group of people that do not show mercy, will struggle with the constant battling against one another. Small missteps turn into huge outrages while unthinkable acts go unmentioned or unchallenged. The battle that a society like this would face would either be a war on one another, or a war within each person trying to find acceptance and love anywhere they can, at whatever cost.
Mercy is necessary in church. A church is both a family and a group of people. The lack of mercy within a church would be detrimental. Not only would they be deprived of the love that one expects from family, but there would also be a battle against one another within the church. The church would be so preoccupied with itself, that it would not consider anything beyond its own doors; it could not.
Mercy is necessary in a relationship with God. If mercy was absent from this relationship, it would simply be an acquaintance between the Judge and the guilty. No other aspects of the relationship would be worth noting. We, as the guilty, cannot implement mercy into this relationship for we were not mistreated, we mistreated God. Only God, the perfect Creator and Sustainer, is able to implement mercy into this relationship. He alone is able to indemnify our violation of his law through his Son. In fact, he is able to pardon our disobedience completely!
But God does not work as man for his ways are higher (Isaiah 55:9). Man may show mercy to one another. But this mercy runs out. Eventually we get tired of showing mercy to people only to have them require it more and more. In all simplicity, we get fed-up! But God has a never ending supply of mercy. This is where Lamentations 3:22-23 really hit me. (The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.) Many times I come to God asking for mercy for the same transgressions over and over and over. In fact, I become weary from asking for mercy let alone giving it. But God does not become weary. He gives mercy forever and all time.
Because of this, because of the access to an unending supply of mercy, families can show one another mercy when it becomes tiresome. Societies can show mercy to one another when the desire to become judge creeps in. Churches can show mercy when no one else will.