I’ve had a song stuck in my head for several days now. It popped in on Monday and has kept on loop since then. It’s a very simple but profound song. Here’s the link: Merciful God. God’s mercy is mind-blowing, His mercy towards me, towards mankind, is beyond any words I have to explain. It’s outrageous, it’s stunning, it’s awesome, it’s amazing, it’s undeserved, it’s free, it’s liberal, it’s limitless and those still barely touch the surface of what it means, what it feels like experience His mercy.
I was reading Matthew 6 this morning. Lot’s of words from Jesus about how we ought to act. These verses rang in me so I brought them to my blog.
14 If you forgive people when they sin against you, then your Father will forgive you when you sin against Him and when you sin against your neighbor. 15 But if you do not forgive your neighbors’ sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
When I look back I’ve written about forgiveness and mercy before, more than once so I was wondering what I was going to say but reread the first paragraph and then the verses. God’s mercy in forgiving me is limitless UNLESS I don’t forgive others.
Let me say that again. God’s mercy – planned since the beginning, purchased for me on the Cross, mercy that can forgive any sin, and fault, that can make me new and Christlike, that longs to do that very thing -can be stopped by me. He forgives me freely unless I don’t do the same.
Why is my forgiveness of others such a big deal?
I think that’s for two reasons.
Firstly, if I don’t forgive then I haven’t grasped the love aspect of my relationship with God. Love God, love others. You can’t love people who you don’t forgive because the hurt, the holding onto offense means when I look at them I see that not them. I am glad when God looks at me He sees a perfect beloved child (cos Jesus is covering me). I need those glasses so when I look at others I see Jesus covering them and love them and forgive them.
Secondly, if I don’t forgive I am holding on to baggage and burdens I was never intended to have. Sin isn’t just offensive to God, it offends me. Sin was never intended to have a part of this world so its effects damage and hurt me as well as scandalise a Holy God. There’re many memes out there about releasing anger, about letting go of bitterness because it hurts you. They are true, there’s evidence of anger and bitterness affecting us physically, causing illnesses, They do because we are not designed to deal with them. Forgiveness provides a way of letting it go. It’s up to God to deal with sin, not me. I have to trust Him and let go.
There might be other reasons but these are the two that speak to me today. I rely so much on God’s mercy, on His overwhelming love for me that I don’t want to -in fact, I can’t – let anything get in the way of it.
You are so gentle
You are forgiving
You bring me close to your heart
Close to His heart, to be there means I experienced forgiveness and mercy. To stay there, I have to extend them to others.