I once read a story about a Dutch family who refused to be controled by the state church. They were the objects of persecution because they wouldn’t go along with a watering-down of the gospel. The persecution only grew, until soldiers finally invaded their house. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the state also made this family prepare and share their food with the invaders.
But the thing I want you and I to notice is the family’s attitude. As believers, they knew that God had shown them great mercy, so in obedience, they did the same thing. They did more than feed their uninvited guests. They served them as well, showing them kindness.
As a result, the invaders’ behavior slowly began to change, and former hostilities began to dissipate. Seeing the way the humble Dutch family lived, one of the soldiers became interested, and eventually became a believer himself.
In the gospels, we see special moments when Jesus showed unusual mercy to destitute individuals. One such moment can be found in chapter 8 of the gospel of John.
While this biblical tale is very different from our opening story, two common threads run through both stories.
The religion scholars and Pharisees led a woman into the square. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said to Christ, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” The Pharisees were trying to trick Jesus into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against Him.
Jesus bent down and wrote with His finger in the dirt. The scholars kept at him, badgering him. He finally straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, He wrote some more in the dirt.
Hearing that, the Pharisees walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone.
Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”
“No one, Master.”
“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”
The first common thread I see is that both Jesus and the Jewish family in the opening story were placed in a precarious situation. But rather than being passive, they made an active decision, turning these into what I call mercy moments. Thinking about this has caused me to do some soul-searching. Can some of the situations you and I face become opportunities to show mercy? Some examples might be that person who gets on your nerves, or that boss who gives you a hard time on the job.
A biblical definition of mercy is the act of not getting what you deserve, and God has given us the ultimate mercy moment by sending His Son. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death, but Jesus came to bring us the life which we don’t deserve.
Before that can happen, though, He waits for us to open our hearts to Him. We do this by acknowledging that we have sinned, and then by asking for a mercy moment from Him.
If you already know Him, though, join me in looking for ways that we can show mercy to others, and in finding ways to display His glory to a lost world.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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