Yesterday I wrote that Mercy isn’t an emotion or feeling. Mercy is a verb. In the Hebrew, this word mercy has 3 key meanings. And here they are:
Mercy Is Love In Action
It’s more than a feeling—it’s more than a word we use. It’s an action verb—expressing God’s love without words ever being necessary. It’s feeding the hungry—helping the homeless—caring for the orphans and widows. It is show God’s unconditional love to people who do not deserve that kind of love. Over the years I’ve had some issues—now it’s not what some of you may be thinking. I have issues with people who profess the name of Jesus, but who want to help only those people who deserve our help. You know, the ones who quote it as if it were from the Bible: “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” Where do they get that? Where in the…oh, that’s where they get it. As with grace—Mercy is Radical Mercy because without exception every person who has received God’s mercy doesn’t deserve it. I don’t deserve God’s mercy, and neither do you.
Jesus put His Love for Matthew into action—He invited Matthew to be a part of God’s activity in the world. Maybe that’s why the Protectors-Of-Religion were so mad at Jesus—He didn’t invite them. But why would he? They don’t want to change. They don’t want to love the unlovable. They Were Not Willing To Sacrifice Their Self-Righteous Comfortable Life For The Sometimes Uncomfortable Radical Life Of Mercy!
Mercy Is The Concrete Expression Of Hope
Matthew’s life probably had little or no hope. A lot of hopelessness probably came from the Protectors-Of-Religion. He made a bad decision collaborating with the enemy. Now he was treated as if nothing good could ever come of his life. Pushed back, beaten down, made to feel less than human—scorned, refused and isolated. Don’t you think Matthew noticed that these Protectors-Of-Religion didn’t notice him? Don’t you think Matthew noticed they went to the other side of the street to avoid him?
But Jesus walks right up to him—Jesus accepted him right where he was—in the middle of those bad choices and decisions. Jesus didn’t tell Matthew to clean up his act and then come see Him. Jesus knew there was more for Matthew! And in those 6 words HOPE came alive in him. It was real and tangible. God did love him and God did want him and God did have a higher purpose for his life. To have hope means among many things, and one of the most powerful things about hope is to see a different future for your life. I’m pretty sure Matthew didn’t see himself as a writer of one of the Gospels—but God did! Radical Mercy puts hope back into the hearts, minds and lives of those who have been pushed down and beaten down. It’s for the bruised and the messy people—because they are the ones who need Hope!
Radical Mercy Is The Choice To Be Free Of The Toxic 3
When we receive this Radical Mercy, as with Radical Grace, it’s meant to be shared with the likes of sinners. Radical Mercy frees us from that horrible spirit that possessed and controlled the Protectors-Of-Religion. Do you know what kind of spirit I’m talking about? It’s the spirit of being judgmental—and it’s a beast! You see, what OUR sin does to us is make us look at other sinners to point out their mess so that we don’t deal with OUR mess! And our own mess is found in what I like to call the Toxic 3:
- Resentment: Resentment is a form of anger—anger at someone who has offended our sensibilities. They just don’t fit our mold of what we think should happen or how people should act. It’s irritability directed at others. Sometimes it’s because we think they are getting more attention than we are. Showing Radical Mercy Frees Us From This Because We See Others The Way God Sees Them—The Objective Of His Love!
- Bitterness: Remember that bitterness is Spiritual Kudzu. It takes over our life. It makes us hostile to just about anyone and anything. Bitterness usually comes out of some disappointment that we hold on to. Showing Radical Mercy Liberates Us From Bitterness Because It Takes The Focus Off US—And On To Others Who Need Us To Show Radical Mercy—And Are Waiting For Us To Show Radical Mercy!
- Self Righteousness: And here was where the Protectors-Of-Religion were at their best. It’s when we become moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others. We take God off the Throne and put self up there.
When We Learn The Lesson About Radical Mercy, What We Discover Is This: That God, Who Entered The Mess Called OUR Life, Wants Us To Do The Same! Mercy isn’t a feeling. It is an act; an act of moving towards people who the Protectors-Of-Religion move away from. It is an act of extending our hands and our life. It is investing our whole life into the life of someone who is losing or has lost all hope. Our job isn’t to help those who help themselves. The Lord doesn’t help those who can help themselves. He helps those who can’t help themselves, and so should we. Now that, my friends, is RADICAL MERCY!
Remember to love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!