Passing Along The Mercy
Read Matthew Chapter 5
Mt 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
The lesson from this short verse is one that I have only recently learned. I have been in SSA ministry now for several years. When I began, I had little tolerance for anyone who couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of just saying “No” to their fleshly desires. My pompous attitude came about because I had gone thirty-five years without acting out, before I once again failed to resist temptation. After that failure, twelve years ago, I realized that I needed to contact Exodus and get some help for myself. About two years later, I began a same-sex ministry in Missouri.
My strategy was to tell others of how I had been able to resist temptation for so long. After a while, I expected those I mentored to heed my advice and quit participating in same-sex actions. If they didn’t, I came down very hard on them. No doubt, I pushed some away with my intolerance of their mistakes. I wish it were not so. You see, what I failed to remember is that God bestowed a lot of grace and mercy upon me after my failure. Because I did not keep that in the forefront of my mind, I failed to pass along the grace and mercy I received to others. Shame on me!
Another oddity is that before I began this ministry, I had loads of mercy upon others. The lack of mercy slipped up on me unawares when I began speaking into the lives of others. I don’t intend on slipping back into that attitude again.
It has taken the most part of these years of ministry to realize that mistake. Now that I am thinking more clearly, I know that I cannot receive mercy and then fail to bestow that same gift to others. The only reason I can claim a right-standing with God today is because that He is merciful. I cannot claim relationship with God based on my own effort. A few weeks ago, a young man texted me and asked if I was disappointed in him (because he had fallen by viewing porn). My quick and sincere reply was, “Not at all. When I achieve sinless perfection, I will expect it of you. I’m not there yet.” Finally, I get it! God’s mercy cannot be hoarded. It must be passed on to everyone we meet.
We cannot expect sinless perfection from others if we haven’t achieved it ourselves. If we are not merciful to others, God clearly will withhold His mercy to us. Ouch! I’m pretty sure that’s not what I want to happen! If I were merciful to someone every minute for the rest of my life that would not come close to equaling the enormous amount of mercy I have received over the course of my lifetime.
Mt 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
That passage is another “Ouch!” Well, I’ve used this devotion (and another one recently) as an opportunity for confession. Hope you don’t mind.
Prayer: Forgive me, Lord. Your boundless mercies have engulfed me. Remind me of that often. Then help me shower that mercy upon everyone I meet.