By David Stahl

I do not know about you, but the longer I go in life the harder, at times, it seems for me to give mercy to those who have taken advantage, defrauded, or even persecuted me and the family. I am sure there are some people out there who have no problem in the “giving mercy” area, but I would say I have met only a hand full in my life. In the sixth Chapter of Micah God speaks to Israel (through Micah) over her being unkind. Kindness in these troubled times goes a long way to help people deal with the craziness of this world. In verse eight we read, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8) Amazing all God requires of us is to “do justly” (judge rightly) “love mercy,” and “walk humbly with thy God.” Where are all of those rules, those (Colossian 2:21) touch not, taste not, handle not? Maybe they are not as important to God as we think they are. They are important to us as we try to keep them while ignoring the “weightier things” of God. In Matthew Jesus tells us, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matthew 23:23) The law of love your neighbor as yourself. Now there is an order here in Matthew. Order in the Bible is critical words have not been haphazardly arranged. Never miss the point of order, you cannot do something unless you have done the thing before. Here judgment comes before mercy. Now I know judgment is a sore topic with most Christians because they do not want to be judged and found guilty and have to change, but receiving judgment and changing (the critical step) is a sign of spiritual growth and development. This truth holds true when giving mercy. You cannot give mercy without first judging the situation or person. This is why so many Christians get into trouble with God and others. They have no sense of judgment to things that are NOT holy, NOT righteous, and NOT Godly and go after them even unwittingly and get off track. The process of giving mercy must begin with God as we judge our self and things from God’s perspective then we can give mercy not our mercy, but the mercy God expects us to give, thus we end where we started with God. To love mercy is to find it delightful to extend compassion where religion would judge and walk on by. Mercy sees the need for patience, for sympathy, for longsuffering, for suspension of retaliation and rejection. Mercy is putting others before your repulsion and disgust. Mercy is to have pity, compassion, and understanding. Mercy is a willingness to lay down our life for another. Mercy is responding in a positive manner first and then if we have to judge we do it in humility. Now humility is NOT one who is lowliness of spirit who says, “woe is me I am going to go eat worms,” but one who sees things from God’s perspective and is bold in their thoughts and actions. The “woe is me” person is really selfish and self-seeking, it is all about themselves and not the situation nor what God is looking for. We cannot humble ourselves (we think we can) this is something God does in us. But what we can do is prepare the ground of our heart for the waylay. God is good at knowing how to humble each and every one of us. As a matter of fact He is a expert at making us eat our words and He even knows our inward fears and infirmities. He is great at exploiting our weaknesses to get us to run the white flag up and surrender. But before all of this happens we can lessen the blow if we can lower ourselves in our own sight, our thoughts, and thinking less of ourselves. Now this is a hard job for man, we all want to be patted on the back and told how wonderful we are, but that is not what God is after oh no He is after the death of our flesh. He is not trying to kill us but He is trying to kill our flesh. The more of our flesh we allow God to kill in us the more we shall seek Him. Remember the way up is down. In 2 Chronicles we see this truth in King Rehoboam’s life. Ready read, “So king Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem, and reigned: for Rehoboam was one and forty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. 14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD. ” (2 Chronicles 12:13-14) King Rehoboam “strengthened himself” not lowered himself, so “he did evil” not because he committed some ungodly sin, but “because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.” Remember sin is to know right, but do wrong. King Rehoboam knew to “prepare his heart to seek the LORD,” but did not so he sinned. Humility is a heart condition before God where we are soft hearted and open, supple, where our hearts has been prepared for the Master’s use. Now in Prophet Ezra’s life we see a different situation and outcome. Ready read, “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” (Ezra 7:10) Ezra “prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD” so now he knows God’s ways, statutes, and His judgments. In the Psalm David writes, “LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:” (Psalm 10:17) Here we learn God hears the desires of the humble and if we can lower ourselves God (Himself) will prepare our heart and He (the LORD) will hear our cry. I wonder where David learned this lesson? If we never prepare our hearts to seek the LORD we will never knowing God and His ways. The best we will be able to do is guess or worse imagine what God’s will is for our lives. Most Christians do not hear God speak to their heart and use the hit or miss method of know God and His will. I will try this way and if I am wrong well I will try something else. Or I will put a fleece out and if the LORD answers what I think, well that is the will of God. Maybe, but probably not. There is a better way. We can prepare our heart to seek the LORD and know for sure. How can we be wrong if we know what we should be doing? Mercy is seeing each person as a soul destined for eternity. It is caring deeply enough to pray and looking for any way possible to lead them to the right path. Mercy is sadness when we see the judgment of God come down on someone even when we know they deserved God’s hand of wrath. Mercy is also calling for the judgment of God when we see the need. God says a good person will do more than show mercy, we are to love mercy. Praying for mercy for someone is not the same as giving someone mercy. Mercy is something we have to cultivate in ourselves.

I would like to touch on a strange, but sensitive areas of mercy that most people never consider. I have friends who are kinder than most. Although they relate to people in mercy their kindness is not always a fruit of the Spirit it is their natural personality not to judge for they are naturally sensitive to the feelings of others. Would that more of us were so naturally sensitive, but we must remember that mercy does not stand alone, it is always in the company of justice and judgment and where there is a lack of judgment the expression if mercy becomes a fault. Because the mercy is devoid of wisdom and ceases to be constructive being received as normalizing the faults in others rather than showing wise judgment. We must never forget mercy is making decisions based on God’s heart. It is seeing things from God’s perspective and His eternal picture and responding to that end. To “love mercy” is greatly to be desired. God says, a good person will “love mercy.” We need to pray that God can teach us to love mercy, we need to practice loving mercy and we need to repent when we fail.