Life Together: Showing Mercy

Almost done this series! Continuing onward we’re going to look at showing mercy.  The title of the devotion was “Life Together: Don’t be Reluctant to Show Mercy”.

You can read the devotion here.

Rev Warren comments that,

“In real fellowship people experience mercy. Fellowship is a place of grace, where mistakes aren’t rubbed in but rubbed out. Fellowship happens when mercy wins over justice.”  

I mentioned an example of this in my second last post on Authentic Friendship , where my church came around me and supported and accepted me when I confessed a sin to them.  That’s just showing mercy in action – true fellowship!

I like what he says here:

You can’t have fellowship without forgiveness because bitterness and resentment always destroy fellowship. Sometimes we hurt each other intentionally and sometimes unintentionally, but either way, it takes massive amounts of mercy and grace to create and maintain fellowship. 

How about marriage?  I’m sure my wife would agree with the above statement right now – massive amounts of mercy and grace….  “Fellowship” is usually seen in the context of friends, or a small group, or a church… but reading that above statement,  I’m sure that the family should be a microcosm of true fellowship.  You have to forgive to maintain any relationship.  

Quoting the Scripture, Rev Warren continues:

The Bible says, “You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 NLT).

The mercy God shows to us is the motivation for us to show mercy to others. Whenever you’re hurt by someone, you have a choice to make: Will I use my energy and emotions for retaliation or for resolution?

It’s easy to retalliate, hard to choose to forgive – but God says it’s necessary.  (Did I just say that?  Lord, help me to obey!)

I like the contrast he makes between forgiveness and trust:

Many people are reluctant to show mercy because they don’t understand the difference between trust and forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past. Trust has to do with future behavior.

Forgiveness must be immediate, whether or not a person asks for it. Trust must be rebuilt over time. 

Trust requires a track record. If someone hurts you repeatedly, you are commanded by God to forgive them instantly, but you are not expected to trust them immediately, and you are not expected to continue allowing them to hurt you. They must prove they have changed over time. The best place to restore trust is within the supportive context of a small group that offers both encouragement and accountability.

“Forgiveness must be immediate….trust must be built over time”  I’m working this out in my own marriage right now… it’s not easy rebuilding trust… and every slip back jepordizes the whole process.  I’m pushing ahead, though, with my friends and loved ones who are like Aaron and Hur, holding up Moses’ hands so that Joshua could win the battle

The passage is from Exodus 17:10-13:

 10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

I’m Joshua, fighting my battle against the Amalekites – my flesh and demonic oppression – but I have awesome friends and family who are like Moses, Aaron and Hur… interceding to heaven on my behalf!

…..

Now I have been fortunate, and I have been exposed to some of my readers’ and online friends’ struggle with spiritual abuse.  I know that some reading this may be going through a mix of emotions as they deal with memories, reading how things should be and remembering how they were treated and abused…. just let me say that THE LORD LOVES YOU!  No matter what others have done to you or with you…. just know that God loves you.  Also, I want you to know, in the words of one of my blogging buddies, that you are safe with me.  I know that trust takes a while to build, I know that people who promised to love you abused you… but here, you are safe.

My encouragement, then, is ask God to help us all to forgive, and to show mercy towards each other – that is true fellowship!

Thoughts?

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9 Responses

  1. Thanks for your caring words, Robert – to feel safe somewhere is a very beautiful gift.
    Families, homes, friendships, church-families – all these we expect to be safe havens and when abuse happens it’s devastating.
    I’m so sorry you are struggling with trust in your marriage – love, trust and loyalty are fundamental for a healthy relationship and I pray that God will bring healing to both you and your wife.
    Spiritual abuse is terrible because it tries to undermine ones relationship with God. The abuser tries to stand between you and God, or even take on the roll of God in that if you don’t believe and do what the abuser says, then you are actually disobeying God.
    The question arises whether you are truly a child of God, if you dare question the abusers leadership.
    I fled to God and left the church – I have to forgive again and again.
    I hurt for my children who were young and turned away from God and the church. That is so, so difficult to forgive.
    But God knows and will call them to himself some day I pray.
    I wonder why God wants me to walk alone with Him, but I thank Him for His grace and love in giving me all I need to do so.
    Thanks for your care,
    Jonie

    • I wonder why God wants me to walk alone with Him, but I thank Him for His grace and love in giving me all I need to do so.

      Well, you’re no longer alone, my dear….

      And I will help you pray about your family coming to Christ and getting out of the pain of the spiritual abuse.

  2. Bless you!!

  3. Good stuff, my friend! I like what you said about marriage being a microcosm of true fellowship. It is certainly the natural pinnacle of true fellowship, with the ultimate pinnacle being …. hm … well, God with Himself … but in terms of us, clearly us with God. 🙂 great stuff!

  4. So true, it takes a while to learn to trust people. And it took me a looong time to learn to trust God! But He is so good and loving and gentle and merciful. He is so worthy of our trust! What an awesome God we have! Blessings, Jenny

    • True that, Jenny 🙂 Extremely worthy of our trust – extremely trustworthy, too! 😀 Awesome GOD!

  5. […] didn’t plan it, but this post is an extension of my earlier Life Together Series – Showing Mercy, A Mutual Dependency, Authentic Friendships, and  A Shared Life. In fact, before my hiatus, I was […]

  6. […] Life Together – Showing Mercy […]

  7. […] TogethernessInfusion: The Parable of the Tea BagPersonal Devotions: Taming the (Virtual) Tongue…Life Together: Showing MercyPeace in the Midst of the […]

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