Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Love Mercy

When we talk, then, about how central mercy is to God's indwelling presence in the world and how it depends upon truth at its very foundations, we see how important it is that we, as God's people, come to have the same eyes for mercy as God does. 

In fact, it's one of the things Micah tells us the Lord requires of us - to love mercy.

That means that when the world is screaming, He should be fired!, it is Christians who ought to be building a hedge of protection around the man who made an error and gently guiding him into a more disciplined way of doing things. It is Christians who ought to be celebrating his transfer, rather than his termination. 

It means that when the world is content to blackball, to outcast, to turn out a man on the mere accusation of wrongdoing, no matter how grievous, it is Christians who ought to be calming the storms around him and pulling him into the boat for awhile. And if it is shown that the accused is truly guilty, it is Christians who ought to be first to seize upon his heart, hear his apology, embrace his atonement, and believe in his change. 

Remember that Jesus did not condemn the accused, even when it was clear that she was guilty. Rather, He knelt in the dirt and dusted off the sins of the condemners until not one of them any longer believed he had moral ground to stand on. 

And this, by the way, was a sexual sin, just like so many that are making our headlines today. This woman was brought right from the act of adultery, by those who believed they were in the right to condemn her for it. Yet not one of them was able. Was it because they all had sexual sin within them and were therefore no longer able to judge her on the basis of the deplorableness of her sin? Probably not. The message of Jesus here is that no matter how deplorable, sin is sin. Sexual sin is not somehow "worse" than anything you've ever done, so, to put it crudely, get over yourself. 

Get entirely over your holier-than-thou, arrogant-"righteousness" self. 

And it means that when the world cries out for vengeance, it is Christians who ought to embrace justice...and then mercy on top of that. (By the way, justice is another value Micah calls us to in the very same verse.) It means that when the world screams, Cut her up!, it is Christians who kneel in grief with her. It is Christians who hold her tender heart, which is not calloused but is so deeply longing, in their folded hands and pray with her - for the life that she longed for, the life that she wounded, the life that she took, and the life that she seemed to throw away, all in this one unspeakable act that we, as Christians, ought to be on the front lines of speaking.

It's about developing God's eyes for this world. Without God's eyes, we could never have His heart. And without His heart, what are we doing here? Tell me. If we don't love as God loves, if we don't indwell this world in mercy the way that God indwells this world in mercy, what exactly are we doing? 

And contrary to what this world would have us believe in all of its black-and-white, cut-and-dried, yes-and-no, guilty-and-not guilty, truth-or-mercy world, we are not blind to what is truly going on in this world. We are not ignoring the guilt of the guilty. We are not turning our backs on the innocent. Rather, we are facing head-on what fallenness is, but the way that God would have us do it. 

With mercy.

Which depends wholly upon truth. 

It's not black-and-white. That would be too easy. It is shades upon shades upon shades of love. And that's what makes it beautiful. 

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