We are in the middle of a series at church called Be. It’s based on the Beatitudes, and it has been really good. Two weeks ago, the message was about mercy. How Jamey Johnson described it has really impacted me. Here’s what he said.
Jesus is saying this: I will give mercy TO you, when I can get mercy THROUGH you.
He talked about the difference between compassion and mercy.
Compassion is: bringing justice to the innocent
Mercy is: God’s ministry to the guilty
That really hit home. How many times have we mixed up these two words? Compassion is easy. It’s an emotional response to the needs of others. But, mercy? That is just plain hard! Mercy is showing love to the people that you are justified in giving the verdict “guilty” to. Many times, these are the people who are closest to you that have hurt you deeply.
He told an incredible story about his life growing up and how hard his relationship was with his Dad was. It was very powerful. While I can’t relate to the way his Father treated him, I think we can all identify at least one person in our life that needs mercy. It is one of the most difficult things we do in life.
His message really resonated with so many people. He has an incredibly raw, authentic way of speaking and relating to people. I would highly encourage you to listen to the podcast here (titled Jamey Johnson 6/24/12).
I also recently read an incredible book by my author friend Mary DeMuth. It is her memoir, and describes how incredibly difficult her childhood was. Many of us may not have made it through what she endured. But, she did. And she has shown incredible courage by sharing her story and showing mercy to her family and the people who hurt her. You can check out her book, titled Thin Places, here.
As I said, I can’t relate to the horrible things that people have endured in their childhoods. But, I can certainly relate to having someone close to me hurt me. I think we all can.
Jamey’s question at the end of his message was this:
What would it look like to show mercy to the person who has hurt you the most?
For me, it looks like getting over myself and my hurt feelings, and showing the love and grace of God to others.
What do you think about mercy? Have you had a hard time showing it to someone close to you?