Monday, March 12, 2012

undercurrent words

photo courtesy of thanker212


The pews are scarcely filled.  Some parishioners stand with arms raised, others journal, and yet others sit, eyes closed, mouths forming words for only God to hear.  Voices raised sing, Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, God have mercy on me and these words tumble through my head.  Mercy is a compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender or an enemy.  These words swirl, the undercurrent of my faith finally settling into my heart and impressing on me that I must forgive.  I must extend mercy.  Compassion needs to be my next thought and grace, as Ann Voskamp says, "All is grace."

So often I ask for mercy.  I beg God to have compassion on me, to forgive me for a snarky comment or having a bad attitude.  I thank Him for His grace.  I even memorize the song about grace so amazing that it saved a sinner that is me, but the truth comes out when God takes me by the heart and tells me to embody the grace he has so freely lavished over me and extend it--offer it.  

There is only one criteria for those to whom I am to extend grace and mercy--they must be human.  If a person is human, then my one calling is to lavish grace on them, bestow mercy, apply forgiveness, and bleed compassion.  This is so much more easily said than done.  

I can bleed compassion for children on the street or prostitutes in a brothel.  Mercy easily pours out as I think of girls in Kenya who are learning to be better mothers and grace is easily granted when it's for a good cause, but what about when I've been wounded?  What happens when I am asked to pour, bestow, expend, and grant when the person on the receiving end has wronged me?  When that person has taken the knife and driven it elbow deep into your abdomen and at the last moment twisted it?  What then?

Then my friend, we must cling, cling to Truth that it is because of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed.  It's because his compassions fail not.  (Lamentations 3:22)  His mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness.  (Lam. 3:23)  As Christ followers we must strive that our veins flow with compassion; that our first, knee-jerk reaction is one of mercy and grace.  It is not easy, nor is it natural and I have not yet accomplished it, but it is my prayer that my very veins would flow with mercy so that when the dagger is driven deep, the attacker can't help but to become ruined by the compassion that flows from me.

That we would be known by our mercy, our grace, and our compassion.  Most of all that our forgiveness would be supernatural and not easily understood by those around us.  


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