I’m sure that I’m not the only one struggling as we endure this pandemic? I’m sure that I’m not the only one making mistakes – falling, getting back up, only to fall again. I’m sure that I’m not the only one. But, what if I told you, who you are is not what you’ve done. What if I told you, what you’ve done does not have to define who you are. Why? It’s because of God’s grace and mercy toward us.
I heard an interesting definition of mercy the other day. Someone put it this way: Mercy is often confused with grace. Grace is receiving a gift undeserved, while mercy is NOT receiving what you deserve. Let that one sink in. I’m still in a state of awe. I mean, sure I “knew” what mercy was – no, wait, I didn’t, not really. I know what I deserve. I’m so thankful for God’s grace and mercy shielding me from a sinner’s fate.
Do you remember the passage of scripture where Jesus asked the disciples, “who do men say that I am”, then after receiving responses, He asked, “who do you say that I am?” I paraphrased it, but you should be able to find it in Matthew 16 (I think). Any way. I can almost picture it, the disciples all knew who others said/thought of Jesus. Aren’t we like that too? But, it was only Simon Peter who boldly proclaimed: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!” While everyone else was still trying to figure out how to respond or who Jesus truly was.
Who do you say that I am? Who do I say that He is? To be honest, that was a tough question for me initially. You see, I can boldly proclaim that Jesus is my Lord and Savior! He’s God! He’s alive forevermore! He’s my Redeemer! He’s full of grace, mercy, truth! But, here’s some more honesty for you, I haven’t lived my life as though I believe that. It’s been almost like my heart and my mind aren’t on the same page. My mind knows who Jesus is. But my heart has rejected Him as my Lord, Savior, Comforter, peace… I reject Him every time I take matters into my own hands. I have rejected Him each time I placed my own human emotions on Him as though – this is what You really think of me, Jesus. I have come to find that I have rejected His forgiveness, grace, kindness and mercy. Man, what an awful place to find yourself.
Thankfully, Jesus will not allow us to stay in such a dark place when we long for Him, desire Him. No, He desires relationship with us. He desires to help us get back to a place of right standing. He desires for us to feel/experience His peace, His joy, His love. Jesus said, “I will never leave you comfortless” “I will never leave you” “I will never forsake you” “I will never fail you”. And, He cannot lie. It’s not that He will not lie to us, He cannot lie! Yet, if you’re anything like me, you forget this. I sometimes forget His promises when I look at what’s going on around me and/or what I’ve done – the mistakes I have made. I forget. I pray we no longer forget!
It’s time to stop looking at our problems and our mistakes and look up! God has the answers all wrapped up in His love for us. He is the answer to every question, every problem/issue. And, He loves us unconditionally. My tiny brain cannot comprehend this. But, maybe, just maybe, I’m starting to get it a little bit. I want to have mercy for others – really turn the other cheek and not repay evil for evil, rather repay good. I want to grant others grace and forgiveness. I want to love despite! And, it’s not for me or others, rather so all can see Christ living in me.
Who do you say that He is?
*Original Image by KayBee05