Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mercy for the merciful

Just a brief note on some connections I've been making recently. For the next few weeks, we'll be studying spiritual gifts in the Jr. High Sunday School class. This week we started off looking at 1 Cor. 12:4-7, where the gifts come from, what their purpose is, etc. To wrap up the class and lead into next week's class, I had my students start working on a Spiritual Gifts Survey. I completed the survey the night before, and as expected, I was strong in certain areas (teaching and administration) and weak in others (mercy and exhortation). This was no surprise to me, particularly in my weak areas because I am very aware that my first and natural tendency is not to build others up, but instead to tear them down and build myself up. (Praise the Lord His love for me is based on His holiness and steadfastness and not my own or I would be without hope!)

After taking the test and thinking about the results more this morning, I began making some connections that I wasn't too keen on...not because they were bad connections but because they require repentance and change on my part. The last several weeks, I continue to go back to and think on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. The portion that stood out to me recently is Matthew5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy." The merciful, huh? Well, that excludes me, at least most times.

Though my spiritual giftedness is not characterized by mercy, I still must extend mercy for God calls His followers to exhibit the character of Christ. Christ's life was characterized by mercy. Mine should be as well. Though it is not something I am naturally inclined to do, I must extend mercy to those people I feel do not deserve it...especially if I wish to be the recipient of mercy myself. And boy, do I!

This all connects back to my struggle to love the unlovable, as I wrote about in a previous post. I must extend mercy to that person who has wronged me and those around me. I struggle tremendously with this...and I'm afraid that I must admit that thus far, I have been disobedient. Hopefully by posting these things publicly on my blog and Facebook (though few will read it), I will be held more accountable to follow through with this requirement of obedience.

Lord, my heart longs to be pleasing to You but my flesh desires to satisfy itself through prideful actions and an unmerciful attitude. Please break my stubborn spirit so that my thoughts and actions bring You glory.

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