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Posts Tagged ‘Mercy’

Sometimes the smallest events can be lessons from heaven.  I just got one.  The teacher?  A bonafide jerk on the freeway.

My mother-in-law is here for a visit, and rather than try to squeeze a lunch out of an empty pantry, we thought we’d go out to lunch.  As we drove down the road with my ten-year-old daughter in the back seat, I became aware that the guy behind me was getting intimate with my rear bumper.  I was already speeding (ahem), so I didn’t go any faster.   I couldn’t really move to the next lane because it was fairly occupied by other cars.

That made him mad.

He got within kissing distance of my bumper, and then darted into a gap in the right lane.  Just as he passed my mother-in-law and daughter on the passenger side (at probably 80 mph), he expressed his feelings in no uncertain terms.

That’s right.  He stuck his arm out the window and flipped us the bird.

Without hesitation, my husband’s mother raised her hand and returned his gesture – by blessing him with the sign of the cross.

Ha!

Honestly, that was not what I thought of doing.  If I had been alone, I might’ve shouted some choice words from the comfort of my car.  (With the windows rolled up.)  Jerk!

But my mother-in-law is older and wiser than me.

So we prayed:

“Dear Jesus, that man must be a very angry person.  Please help him to be calm and not hurt anyone today.”

Even after praying, I felt … violated.  As if he had spit in my face.  But scripture worked its way into my mind.  God’s word spoke softly to me, like a gentle melody.

“A soft answer turns away wrath,” it whispered.

“Do not return evil for evil,” it instructed.

“Love your enemy,” it thrummed.

And eventually, I exhaled. 

Calm. 

Mercy. 

Grace.

Mr. Roadrage Man , wherever you are, I really do wish you the best.  You must have had a really crummy day.  Or maybe someone mistreated you.  Or maybe your mama never taught you any manners.  Whatever your situation, I hope you find peace.  I pray you find Jesus.

Much love,

Wendi

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Sometimes a holiday break can be one day too long.  Such was the case at our house this Thanksgiving weekend.  One daughter had a bad day.  The other daughter provoked her.  The wronged daughter decided to show her displeasure by defacing a piece of our property.  A valuable piece of property.

My husband got “that look.”  His jaw was set about two inches farther outward than usual, his eyes narrowed, and his breath shortened.  I suggested that he take a moment to compose himself before responding.

Through clenched jaw and gritted teeth, he replied, “You handle this.”

Well, we handled it together.  After a coarse tongue-lashing, the offender was sent to her room so that we could discuss her sentence.

Once we had vented, we mulled our options.  There was so much damage done to the property that even if we held back her allowance for an entire year, it wouldn’t be enough money to fix it.  Oh there would be consequences, but we realized that this is one debt she cannot re-pay.  It is too big.

We went to her room to deliver said consequences.  She was utterly torn up with guilt and shame.  I was stomach-sick for her.  I know how it feels to wish with all your heart that you could take back something that you did or said.  We still had to discipline her, but we also told her that we love her, and nothing she could do would ever take that away. There was a tearful apology, forgiveness was extended and hugs exchanged.

So this is what it must feel like to God, I thought.  Maybe like me with my daughter, He is stomach-sick over what we’ve done and the pain we’ve caused ourselves.  We’ve done so much damage that there is no way for us to re-pay the debt.   It is too big.

This is it.  This is the reason for Jesus.  This is the reason He came. 

He comes now to blot out our mess.  He comes to make us right once again, to wipe our tears, to give us comfort and to extend forgiveness.  He has paid our overwhelming debt. 

Remember His gift as you enter Advent, and prepare with a grateful heart.

Remember to extend grace, love and forgiveness to all.

And if you are suffocating under a blanket of shame, throw it off.  The debt has been paid. 

Remember?

paid in full

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”  (Romans 13:8, NIV)

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My daughter and I had an adventure this week.  She has expressed an interest in one day becoming a lawyer, so I contacted a friend who is a superior court judge and asked if we could observe his court and interview him.  What we witnessed was an education for us both.

The docket was filled with guilty pleas.  One by one, the people sitting next to us in the courtroom took their place at the defense table to enter their plea before the court.  The first was a man who admitted to body-slamming his girlfriend and strangling her by pressing his knee into her neck.

“Heh, heh,…” I thought, “Our judge friend is really going to throw the book at this guy.”

But his sentence seemed too light.  My daughter and I were furiously writing notes back and forth to each other.  “He only got that?!”  she wrote.  “Shouldn’t he get something worse?”

At morning recess, the bailiff took us back to chambers.  During our conversation with the judge, my daughter questioned why, in her opinion, he had been so easy on the guy.

“Seriously!”  I thought, but I kept my mouth shut.

He gave her a bemused smile, explained to her about overcrowding in the jails – and then educated us both about mercy.

He told her how some people haven’t had a good home life or good parents, and they grow up to make mistakes.  He wants to give them the chance to do the right thing.  If they still won’t do right, then he must give them harsh consequences.

It’s a good thing that I am not a judge.  I would be only too willing to put everyone in the slammer. No second chances from this judge.  Oh, no!

It is so easy, in our self-righteousness, to blame others, to demand restitution, and maybe even to secretly hope that someone who has offended us might suffer just a teensy bit for it.  But when the tables are turned, and we have wronged someone, don’t we hope for mercy?

God is merciful.  He is the Second-chance-giver.  He is not sitting on a cloud waiting to strike us with lightning for every wrong we’ve done.  Instead, He sits ready to bail us out.  The price for our offenses has already been paid.

For this, I owe it to Him to respond to others with the mercy I have received.

Will you?

 

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8, NIV)

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