HMMMM. ... WOW....i thought... OHHH man... as I pondered..... wait DANG....BEAUTIFUL.. as I cried.
I was immediately overwhelmed for I have most recently received great helpings of mercy: unabashed, unmerited, and unending in many areas of my life.
We all know the word mercy. In fact, I have to believe we receive a million mercies daily that we aren't even aware of, whether from the Lord, an annoyed husband or friend. I'd say most of my life the word mercy probably only came up when watching a movie or reading a great fictitious novel. Like the epic Brave Heart kind, where the hero we all love has the opportunity for vengeance but chooses to show mercy. Once the movie was over I would go back to real life, where there was no one (that I know of) trying to kill me or kidnap my family members (like I said one of those sneaky mercies afforded me regularly I fail to be grateful for) where again mercy slipped my mind. Once I came to know Jesus, by God's amazing grace, the word would come up more often and would be pondered on for a moment, especially when listening to church sermons or doing bible studies. I clearly understood that without Jesus I would be shown no mercy for God is holy and the wages of my sin has to be death. But again I couldn't quite fit that into my daily life. That idea alone was so hard to grasp. Add in my prideful heart which tends to paint myself as much better than I actually am, and the need for mercy went right out the window.
But recently I have a had the rare favor of experiencing mercy up close and personal. I have found myself on the receiving end of mercy in a very real world way and I am aware that it is so completely undeserved and unmerited. I can assure you that mercy of that magnitude will drive you to your knees with a grateful heart.
After experiencing mercy so personally that sermon definition hit me in the most tender place of that grateful heart. "Of course mercy means to change the subject," I thought, as a picture formed in my mind. I kept seeing myself with all of my sins aka all of my horrible thoughts, terrible decisions, ugly ungrateful or selfish and violent attitudes piled up like luggage on a wagon. I kept dragging them up to the Lord on His glorious thrown, Jesus standing beside me quietly, and trying to get him to LOOK, really look at what at all that I'd done. But He wouldn't He just kept changing the subject. Of course at this point my tender personal picture turns humorous, because well, I think in humour most naturally, and I have to believe God thinks that way in dealing with me; after all I am made in his image. So I kept dragging my horrible icky stuff up with as much dread and sorrow and seriousness as I could muster and God almighty kept saying " Let's just go hang out and talk over pizza." WHAT?!?!?! bizarro I know. But stay with me isn't this a beautiful idea?
Once I accepted Christ my glaringly obvious flaws ceased to matter, the subject was changed to Christ. No longer do I have to dwell on all I have done wrong or may do in the future but I can remember not I ... Christ. Not me Christ. Not my sin.. the cross. What a valuable subject change!!! In fact where I speculate from my own experience many believers go wrong is to choose christ and believe in mercy but never accept and walk in it as if its really their own. We keep dragging our wagon to whoever.... while God is saying over and over "would you leave the wagon here at the cross already? and lets go hang out. There are other way more important subjects than you and your junk" Oh how sweet mercy truly is.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Today as I was doing my Beth Moore study on the fruits of the spirit I came across something that compounded the sweetness of this already astounding new picture for me. The lesson looked at the complete new testament word study of the fruit of the spirit "patience." Bare with me. She explained that the study found that there are two different greek words used in the bible that translate to mean patience. The first word is Makrothumia it means "forbearance; self restraint before proceeding to action; the quality of a person who is able to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so." Makrothumia refers to patience in respect to persons. The second is Hupomone it means "endurance."Hupomone refers to patience in putting up with things, or circumstance.
The word Makrothumia is the one I'm going to be focusing on for a second. It is the word for patience used in scripture when listing patience as a fruit of the spirit. Both of these words for patience are obviously important but Makrothumia is pertinent to this particular blog and heres why. I have explained that these words both stand for patience but there are two very important distinctions between them. The first distinction I described above in the definition. Makrothumia is extended in dealing with people and Hupomone is extended in dealing with circumstances. But the second is the greatest distinction (for this blog). It is that each kind of patience has its own inspiration. Stay with me!
You'll find in scripture if you do a study that Hupomone is inspired by HOPE. It is hope that drives us to be patient or endure in crazy circumstances. It is the hope that you will come out of them, that they may change for better, etc...that allows you the patience to endure those moments. But what drives us to be patient or persevere, to have Makrothumia when dealing with people who have injured us or wronged us? What is it that allows us to stay in a relationship that the world says get out of? What is it that inspires someone with the right to justice to refrain and lay down those rights to act? MERCY. The inspiration or motivation for patience dealing with fellow human beings especially where impossible hurts have been afflicted is MERCY. Without mercy there is no patience as God has demonstrated with us. For he has demonstrated Makrothumia.
Everywhere in the bible you find patience expressed by using the word Makrothumia, there you will find also some kind of mercy. The mercy present in Makruthumia translates "eleos" in the greek. This is the same mercy word used in scripture when it describes God. In other words when you demonstrate makruthumia you are indeed being like Christ. Again how sweet!! patience and mercy combined in one word, this can not be demonstrated without the holy spirit as it is the act of becoming like Christ, direct fruit.
I have been so blessed by this discovery of what mercy really means at its depths and too find that it is intricately woven into patience. How kind of God to pour out mercy. Even more amazing that I have had this same mercy lavished upon me by so many close friends and family. This isn't possible without the holy spirit present in their lives. Amazing that I have been on the receiving end of something truly supernatural. I hope it blesses you, when my cup runneth over, or my basket rather, I am compelled to share! I pray I will receive from the holy spirit enough patience, love, humility, and understanding to change the subject when I'm wronged. The act of mercy requires trust and peace that passeth understanding. I want to love for the sake of love and expect nothing in return and to give the Mercy that I have received and never deserved, the magnificent gift of mercy God has extended through Christ.
I have no idea where you find yourself. If you think of mercy only at the movies or if you know Christ or do not, but I hope this week you'll be encouraged that the creator God who has every right to justice has chosen mercy, through Christ dying on the cross. For those of you assured of salvation I hope you will be challenged to change the subject as one day you may find yourself desperately needing the subject changed.
To those of you who have extended great measures of mercy to me and graciously carried my burdens, I am more grateful than you will ever know on this side of heaven. I hope you will read this and take heart it has not gone unnoticed and I will strive to pay it forward <3
giving thanks with a grateful heart for new mercies daily,