This week’s blog is from my husband Nathan! I am delighted to share his words with you. Though he does not feel like a writer, he agrees that God has given him a story to share. You will no doubt hear from him again. 🙂 Enjoy.
Go and learn what this means.
Jesus says in Matthew 9:13:
“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
God also says this same thing in Hosea 6:6:
“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
This is not the picture of God I had in my mind for most of my life. I always saw God as a quiet, stern authority. When I sinned, I would go to Him and ask for forgiveness.
I always knew I was forgiven because that’s what the Bible told me. However, I viewed God as an arms folded, looking down on me with a disappointed look kind of Father.
The kind of authority that would say, “I forgive you because I said I would but don’t do it again.” There was no tenderness in His tone, only disappointment and disapproval.
This idea of Father God left me with low self-worth and mostly ashamed of myself. My motivation for being good came from trying to avoid these feelings. So as you can imagine, whenever I blew it, I was right back in the same place- begging for mercy from a God who I believed was continually disappointed in me.
This all changed when God revealed to me that He desires to give us tender mercy when we come to Him with our sin and shame. It came at a time when I had been sinned against and was feeling betrayed.
I felt I was forced into forgiving someone that I did not want to forgive.
My desire was to hold onto the pain and make the person pay for what they did to me. I remember yelling at God and asking Him, “What am I supposed to do now?” His answer came with His desire to just hold me. He showed up that day with compassion and mercy. I knew He was giving me the strength to respond with the same compassion and mercy He was showing me. How could I not show the same mercy my Father had shown me?
God is moved with compassion and love towards us. His arms are not folded but open and waiting for us to run into them to be held and comforted.
He can’t wait to forgive us and remind us of who we are when we come to Him with our mess.
He reminds us that we are His and He bought us with the blood of Jesus. His desire is to have mercy on us and restore our identity when we’ve lost our way. This is all described in detail in Luke 15:11-32 the parable of the Prodigal Son.
So why did I spend so much of my adult life with a false belief of who God was? The answer I believe is also in the scripture I shared from Matthew 9:13. I did not “go and learn what this means”.
I wasn’t seeking God out in prayer, in worship, and through His word. The “go and learn” of this scripture is an action. Go, it’s not just something I could read about or be preached to about. It required action and seeking His face and living out the work that He has prepared for me to do.
Having this new understanding of God’s desire to show me mercy has given me a new understanding of showing others mercy. Not only does God desire to show us mercy, He delights to do it. We can’t give others what we haven’t first received from God.
Have you been able to give someone the gift of mercy with joy in your heart?