Proverbs 23 3-23-22

Mercy is the compassion of God. Want to experience His mercy? Just ask for it!

15 My child, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed; 16 my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.

There is a prayer in liturgical churches that echoes the prayer of the “sinner” in Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:13), which says, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” The secret to the mercy of God is not our having to beg for it; it was given freely by Jesus Christ on the cross to everyone. Paul told us that it was God’s plan all along,

32 For God has shut up [sugkleio-enclose together] all in disobedience so that he may show mercy on them all. Romans 11:32

“‘Lord, have mercy’ doesn’t activate Abba’s mercy–
rather, it leads me beneath the ever-flowing spring
to receive mercy’s continuous downpour.”*

Once a person understands that all he needs to do is receive the mercy and grace that God is already pouring out on all mankind, our whole perspective on life begins to change. When we turn from the darkness of our own blindness to the light of His love, it’s like being born again, like being brought from death to life, or like moving from living in a black-and-white world to one of color (much like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz when she stepped out of the house into Oz).

The word, “sinner” does not identify us; it describes the human condition. It could be said that sin is not something we do as much as it is what we believe. If we “miss the mark” of understanding that we are made in God’s image and are His beloved children, then we will live as if He doesn’t exist, or that we are “pond scum” and undeserving of His love. I used to believe in “the total depravity of man,” but I have come to understand that way of thinking as a deception of the evil one. Jesus reveals our worth to Him. We are valuable to Him. He said,

How much more valuable is a person than a sheepMatthew 12:12

Paul explained it this way, “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, [who died to show us how much we mean to Him] overflow to the many!Romans 5:15

Christ did not die to make us valuable; He died BECAUSE we are valuable to Him. Now, if that doesn’t make us want to trust Him and follow Him, then I don’t know what will! To me, it’s like I woke up to something that I had always hoped, yet thought was impossible: I really am precious in His sight. Jesus really does love all the little children (that’s us, folks) of the world!

Abba, as I ask for Your mercy, lead me to that fountain that flows from Your throne, the one that pours down love, joy, peace, hope and grace–mercy! Please help me to get my head–and heart–around the truth that I am Your child and You love me. I always have been, and You always will. I love You, too! Amen.

*A More Christlike Way, pg. 206

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