Friday, October 29, 2010

Justice or Mercy?

How would you react if you were called to forgive the terrible hurts that have been inflicted upon your very soul?  It could be a scar from days gone by or a wound fresh and yet bleeding.  Would you be willing to readily and freely forgive as God so often entreats us to in His Word?

This is an area I have struggled with and have since found it best practice to take no offence no matter what.  It is far easier to choose not to be offended than having to go through the entire process of having to forgive someone for a trespass and worse still, it could even be an imagined one. 

Unforgiveness wreaks you.  It stagnates your progress towards your God given purpose and calling in life

O the woes of forgiving others!  How does one deal with this nerve racking process of first having to admit to oneself that I have been hurt.  Denial is not an option if I want to enjoy the freedom that comes with being a child of God. 

There is the temptation to mull, chew and meditate on the exact words of offence and go over the scene frame by frame in my mind.  Imagining how I could have dealt with it differently, the words I could have mouthed.  The tit for tats and the smug expression I too could have sported.  Picturing the defeat in my opponents eyes, justifying my actions as defence, even making up my mind to call them right away and give them a piece of my mind or making a mental note to let them have it the next time I see them.

And then, having to chuck it all, going before my Father with angry tears rolling down my face.  The wounds demanding justice for a wrong done. Screaming for my just God to rise up on my behalf, even confessing scripture  "Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD without wavering." (Psalm 26:1) 

 At long last my body settles down quietly on the floor, seems like no more tears left to flow.  I can hear the silence now and then a still small voice asks "Justice or Mercy?" As the implication of those words dawn on me I surprise myself with the sound of my own uninhibited sobbing.  The questions screaming in my mind, How could you ask me to forgive?  Can't you see how much I have been hurt? 

His quiet comforting voice replies "Justice will prevail, and Mercy will draw you closer to My heart".  Then like on a gentle breeze I see the verse float before my eyes  "Ephesians 4:32"  which read "And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you."
Unrelenting I retort, "Did you have to bring that up Lord?"  I sat in stubborn silence for a while, reluctantly recollecting all the terrible things I had done.  The words like sharp daggers that had left my own mouth, the wounds that I had inflicted, sometimes foolishly, sometimes deliberately. 
And then I remembered the moment I had encountered the all encompassing grace of God, His forgiveness of my own sin.  The release I had felt and the warm embrace of His love.  I remember thinking then, 'everyone needs to experience this.'
Who was I then not to extend the same grace to the one causing me such great pain.  The choice was clear now.  Mercy had to triumph over justice. 
A peace that is beyond my understanding began to fill my heart.  At last I could quietly pray "I forgive Lord just as you forgave me.  I release love and blessing to the one who has wished me harm." 

1 Peter 4:8 "Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]"

Only the realization of His unconditional love for me, had given me the strength to readily forgive others. I don't know about you, but pure unadulterated Love always brings out the best in me!

Smothered with His love,

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