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Summary: Mercy triumphs over judgement ~ or it should!

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HOUDINI LIVES ~

OR MERCY TRIUMPHS OVER JUDGEMENT!

LUKE 7: 36~ 47

1. Introduction:

It seems God just loves to show mercy whereas all too often our natural inclination is to show judgement. I guess my biggest act of mercy was rescuing a mouse that the cat brought in through the cat flap. I managed to get the mouse out of his mouth and carried the cat kicking me as I was holding him tightly down the stairs, throwing him out of the front door at 3.30 am in the morning. I then had a problem. I soon realised that the only person who could catch the mouse was the cat who was now outside the house and had gone into a right sulk. Every time I tried to catch that poor little mouse he proved too fast for me, the last I saw of him was his long tail climbing up the inside of my chair. Houdini as I called him, lived very contentedly in my sofa for two and half weeks before I eventually caught him in a humane mousetrap, happily letting him go in the big wide world again.

Houdini had chewed the material on the sofa, ate my cat’s food and very wisely escaped death in a nasty trap called the “Little Nipper” that I had originally planned to catch him in. I think after all he had been through he deserved to live, but I have to say that my cat Gizmo was not so keen to show mercy especially as they had a stand off for a whole morning eyeballing each other and lets face it that mouse was proving to be a lot more cleverer than my cat!

Let’s look at how Jesus enacted mercy wherever possible and often reserved judgement for those who stood in judgement over others. He actually stated His mission was not to condemn the world but to save it: John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world though Him”.

2. If you really knew me would you want to?

I think our sinful woman came to the right person don’t you? After all the Pharisees didn’t want her near them, and thought if Jesus knew who she was (which He did!) that He wouldn’t either. Yet Jesus came to find and save the lost. His heart is not to keep people away but to bring them in that His house may be full. Jesus loved the unlovable. He touched the untouchable.

Religion has little if any grace or love, it alienates and rejects rather than accepting and bringing the lost to a God who loves them dearly. In her brilliant testimony books “Freed for Life” and “Freed for Ever”, Rita Nightingale tells her story of how she came to know Jesus whilst serving a long prison sentence in a Thai jail on drug charges. Eventually released by Royal Pardon she often shared her testimony in various churches. Sadly on one occasion someone actually approached her and pointedly told her how when she found the Lord she had put her make up down the drain. Even after just hearing this wonderful story of God’s amazing love and grace, because Rita happened to be wearing make up they felt it necessary to go and criticise her for not meeting their particular standards of holiness. Helpful it isn’t is it? In fact it must have been humiliating.

I think the story of Esther alone with her yearlong beauty treatments using oils and perfumes would have said that view was religion and not grace. After all in the providence of God Esther was used to save her nation. The trouble is so often these opinions are entrenched in our traditions and man made rules; it leads to those outside feeling unwanted. We have to really think through these attitudes to see if they are of man or of God. Especially if they alienate people whom God so wants us to love and accept in our church communities.

Unfortunately religion so binds and enslaves, there is no freedom or love. It certainly does not help to reach the lost on the contrary it puts them off. Unsurprisingly people find religious rules with its incomprehensible dos and don’t off-putting to say the least. Let mercy triumph over judgement!

3. The Untouchables.

Jesus was often approached by the social out casts of His society. Strange when you think about it. Why did they feel so at ease with Him? He was certainly more approachable than the religious leaders of His day that’s for sure. They didn’t want these people near them, let alone eat and drink with them. But Jesus went to them, ate with them in their own homes and received them with such compassion whenever they came to Him.

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