Summary: Mercy is not just you scratch my back I scratch yours. It is doing everything we can and expecting nothing in return
Illustration: Millions of people were gathered before the Throne of God. Some of the groups near the front talked heatedly and were belligerent. “How can God judge us, they asked?” God is in heaven where all is beauty and light, what does He know about suffering snapped a cynical woman. As she stood she rolled back her sleeve revealing a tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp. We were tortured, humiliated, torn from loved ones, until only death gave release. What about this said an angry black man, Lynched for no other reason other than being black. We were enslaved, beaten, wrenched from loved ones, only death gave us freedom. Across the plain there were thousands who had similar complaints against God for the suffering they experienced on earth. So they decided to form a committee, each person was selected from their groups because they suffered the most. The committee met in the middle of the plain, they decided that before God could judge them he had to live on earth as a man. They set certain safeguards so that in times of trouble He could not use his divine power to escape. Each of the 10 got up to pronounce their portion of the sentence.
1. Let him be born a Jew
2. Let his birth be so questionable that no one would really know who his father really is
3. Let him try to communicate something no one has ever seen or heard, let him try to communicate God
4. Let him champion a cause so great that people will call him mad or lunatic
5. Let him be betrayed by one of his closest friends, let him be abandoned at his greatest time of need by all he loved
6. Let him be condemned by the religious leaders
7. Let him be sentenced to die by a cowardly judge
8. Let him be humiliated and tortured
9. Let him die like a common criminal and buried in a borrowed grave
10. Let his name live on forever that in moments of rage men would use it as a common curse word.
As each pronounced their portion of the sentence loud murmurs of approval came from the crowd. When the last pronounced his sentence no one made a sound, no one dared to move. When the last pronounced his sentence they all knew, God had already served the sentence.
I use this illustration to open because it clearly tells us what MERCY is. It is seeing with the eyes of others, feeling with their feelings, thinking with their thoughts, fully understanding what they are experiencing. Paul said, “I have become all things to all men so that I might save some.” (1 Cor 9:22).
By being merciful it is not doing something so that you might get something in return. The old I scratch your back you scratch mine idea. Remember the story of Androcles and the Lion. He was a runaway slave, as he hid in one of the caves the lion came into the cave limping badly. Androcles skillfully removed the thorn from the lions paw. Later when Androcles is captured he is put in a cage to be devoured by lions. Only the lion that is sent in is the same one whom Androcles removed the thorn. Instead of devouring him, the lion snuggles up to me. No we are not to be merciful to others to get something back, we are to be merciful because God is. Daniel 9:9 says, “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;”
In Understanding MERCY it would help to remember the word CARE.
1. At the end of the story of the Good Samaritan Jesus tells the listeners “Go and do Likewise. (Luke 10:37)
2.Matt. 9:13 But go and learn what this means: `I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
3. Matt. 12:7 If you had known what these words mean, `I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
4. Jude 1:22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear--hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
1. James 2:13-16 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
2. Acts 2:44-45 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.