How do we experience God’s mercy? Paul testifies that he received mercy even though he was the foremost of all sinners. The word mercy presupposes an acknowledgment of unworthiness on the part of the receiver.
I am a good organizer and have a lot of energy. I can do many things well. I believed that I could control my life by planning well and working hard to accomplish goals. Then, one day I found myself doing good work but grumbling all the way through. I was contributing much, but there was no joy in my heart. My heart was heavy, and my body was aching. I was moving only by my impeccable plans, not by the Holy Spirit. Once I realized the situation, I acted upon what Jesus calls us to do: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens” (Matt. 11:28). I laid down before Christ my personal ambition and concerns for the future. Frankly, I was embarrassed about going to God; I was ashamed of my arrogance, yet I confessed, “Here I am, Lord. I am letting things go. I am in your hands.” Suddenly, I felt like I could breathe again. It was like I was slowly opening my clenched fists. My heart was light, I exhaled with relief, and even my sore muscles were relieved. It was refreshing to have an unburdened heart. I received God’s mercy on that day. I questioned myself, Why did it take so long going to God?
Receiving mercy is about experiencing grace, compassion, and full acceptance of God—therefore, peace.
Merciful God, your invitation to “come to me” lingers. Help me to experience your mercy in my life today. Amen.
Jeremiah’s warning of coming judgment continues. The children of Israel have become foolish, have ignored God, and have become good mainly at doing evil. God is going to respond to this situation. The psalmist describes the state of all who are foolish: they deny God and follow their own corrupt desires, including the oppression of the poor. The author of First Timothy, traditionally Paul, says that this was also his former way of life. He has been foolish and ignorant, a persecutor of the followers of Christ. In fact, he had been the worst of all sinners; yet Christ has shown him mercy, not judgment. Jesus tells two parables to reveal God’s heart. Rather than neglecting the ignorant, the foolish, and the lost, God searches to find each one of us.
Read Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28. How do your actions show others that you know God?
Read Psalm 14. When have you, like the psalmist, felt that no one knows God? How did you have faith that God would restore God’s people?
Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17. Recall a time when you felt unworthy of Christ Jesus’ full acceptance. How has that experience made you more grateful for Christ’s mercy?
Read Luke 15:1-10. In a world full of death and violence, how do you rejoice when God finds one lost person?
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