On the heels of my last post, a few thought-provoking lines on a parallel topic.
Whether we suffer the consequences of sin and are punished, or receive sweet mercy, in the end it is all the same.
I am extremely thankful for mercy, I think we all are. Who hasn’t been in a position in which we deserved much worse than we got. Escaping consequences when we deserved a severe penalty is such a relief and weight off our shoulders, we can breathe again. Mercy received, debt cancelled, against all odds miracle blessing, heartache averted, and hopefully lesson learned. Our need for mercy isn’t always due to our sin, but often due to things out of our control.
Psalm 147:11 The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
Then there are consequences. Sometimes even when we receive mercy there are still consequences. They can be so painful. We may not feel we deserve to be punished so harshly, and find ourselves straying into the familiar ground of denial. We may lose a job, a relationship, an opportunity that was almost to good to be true. We find ourselves in the midst of the reality of what we’ve done, and the punishment is very real.
Big picture moment-the worst punishment given may be the best thing for us, and mercy we receive that is undeserved may be the springboard to greater faith.
In our minds we rehearse the whole God perspective; how He grants mercy where He will, and dispenses consequences to others as He sees fit. If we trust God, then we understand everything happens for a reason and nothing happens that God doesn’t allow, right? When consequences come calling or mercy is granted we say we trust God and move on; we take our medicine or gasp a sigh of relief and plow ahead.
Psalm 94:18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.
You see, even if we don’t agree, and even if it happens in a way we don’t like, it doesn’t change the fact that it is as God wills. We may plead for mercy, justifying ourselves or excusing our actions, but God sees it differently and executes judgment. He may be merciful and lessen our punishment, speak peace to us, and allow His grace to flood our repentant souls. There may be a time of darkness so black we forget what the sun looks like, we think it will never end; It is all up to Him.
The only thing we can do is surrender, plead for mercy, and realize our lives are not our own, they belong to the creator of all things.
Mercy isn’t mercy if it enables us to continue on into more sin. But consequences can be mercy, if when shown our error we are repentant, turn, and go the other way.
- In the Bible, there are 262 references to the mercy of God, with nearly 100 alone in the Psalms.
Psalm 119:64 The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.