Paul McKim

The Rev. Paul McKim

Laura Street Baptist Church

God accomplishes so many incredible things in our lives that we can’t begin to get our minds around the wonder. God loves us without limit or boundary. God is faithful in his care for us. God grants us the very blessings of the heavenlies. God is rich in mercy.

Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

God’s mercies toward us are new every morning. Today our culture grants little mercy. We are quick to find fault and to take offense. We are ready to take one another’s inventory without even really trying to find out what is in each other’s heart. I am convinced that all of us have wounds and scars of heart that at times are overwhelming to us. God calls us to consider one another.

Jesus said, “blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” Jesus told a story of a man who owed millions of dollars and was arrested, and they were preparing to cast him into prison until the debt was paid. Having no way to pay that debt this man threw himself on the mercy of his lender and the debt was forgiven. Can you imagine having millions of dollars of debt simply forgiven? Well, this man immediately went out and found a man who owed him about 20 dollars and threw him in jail until the debt was paid. Jesus said this man was a wicked man, that when we are forgiven much, we should be people who also forgive much.

As believers we have been forgiven more than we can fathom. We have been redeemed from eternal separation from our God; we have been forgiven of sin. As believers we should be people who show mercy to others. Practicing mercy is not only right but it is also good for us. The wisdom writer in Proverbs 11:17 says, “the merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm.”

When we practice mercy in our lives, we build the life we want to experience. When we refuse to practice mercy, we build a life that incarcerates us. A lack of mercy births in our lives a bitterness that will pollute everything else in our life. The author of Hebrews says that we need to guard against a root of bitterness that finds its way into our hearts. When we birth a root of bitterness, scripture says that it causes trouble, and many will be defiled. In reality, what that root of bitterness will do is pollute every relationship that you cherish and drive away every individual you love.

Let us choose to practice mercy and forgiveness. Corrie ten Boom was a WWII holocaust survivor and her family, though they were Christians, were imprisoned for sheltering Jews. Corrie watched as her whole family died.

When released after one of her speaking engagements, a prison guard approached her to tell her that he had subsequently found Jesus and extended his hand for a shake. Corrie said the last thing she wanted to do was to shake that hand, but she knew that forgiveness demanded it. She breathed up a prayer for grace and extended her hand and said immediately it was like an electric shock shot through her body. Corrie said that a love flooded her heart that nearly overwhelmed her.

How much do we miss when we neglect mercy?