This is a story that happened a few years back…
God’s Word says, All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved! – Eph. 2:3-5
God paints some pretty awesome pictures for us in life. Some are viewed only as childish finger paintings that are stuck to the refrigerator and never again even noticed only to be discarded as meaningless. I believe that they are masterpieces. They are like DaVinci that cause us to “Ohhhh” and “Ahhh” as we marvel at the wonder of each stroke of the brush and wonder just what was going through the mind of the Creator.
One such painting that I had the humble privilege to observe was a picture of God’s great mercy? Our children occasionally leave things in our home where they are NOT supposed to be. Very simple, right? On this particular night it was something very simple and easily handled – an orange plastic cup. I had just returned from a bible study and was in the living room eating a Subway sandwich with lots of black olives and jalapenos. One of the children left it in the living room floor and was asked to pick it up and you would have thought that they were asked to walk on hot coals and before I knew it the tension in the room was thick coupled with some sassing and a confession that my child didn’t leave the cup in the floor and furthermore their cup was already in the sink. I had heard enough. I said, “Go look in the sink and tell me if you cup is in the sink.” My child ignored me, so I said it again. Again I am ignored. I am thinking, Wow, This child doesn’t know me very well.” “NOW!” I said, “Get up and go look in the sink and come back and tell me if your cup is in the sink….NOW!” That got someone moving but the sassing continued as I was told that my request was “pointless.”
The next words to come from my mouth were “You are grounded young lady”. This meant that the plans that my child had for the weekend were OUT! Now you are probably thinking, “OK, where is this amazing painting of God’s?” After this dreaded moment that no parent likes had happened and the room was still and silent and returned to try to choke down the rest of my dinner, our God began. I noticed a little boy sitting in the floor fidgeting – looking at me and the cup; then back to me and then the cup. He then jumped up, grabbed the cup himself, took it to the kitchen sink, came back back to the living room and sat down with a big smile on his face. I was shocked! Barely able to so much as raise my head much less swallow the bite that I had in my mouth. I had witnessed mercy and kindness and love. It was as though he was crying out “Mercy!” In the movie Braveheart as William Wallace is being tortured, the people began to cry out MERCY on his behalf. My 8 year old son wanted peace in our home. He wanted his father to show mercy to his sibling even if it meant that it was going to cost him. Is this a stretch? I don’t think so. Jesus used many real life lessons to teach us about the Father, and Godliness, Holiness, the Father’s love and goodness. He used everyday things like fishing, sheep and money to paint some pretty vivid pictures about God’s love, grace and yes, His mercy.
The scriptures teach us that God is RICH in His MERCY; abounding, filled with, overflowing with plenty to spare with mercy and He relentlessly seeks to reconcile with us. He is patient and wants to bridge the gap. That bridge is Jesus! Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Love is one of God’s intrinsic attributes but when love is related to the sinner, it becomes grace and mercy”. Punishment and correction should never be confused in administering discipline to those that we love. Punishment is for criminals for crimes that they have committed. Correction is restoring to a state of uprightness. In God’s mercy we don’t receive what we deserve. His grace affords us what we don’t deserve. So I was inclined to show mercy; I wanted to show mercy my child and to correct the behavior while attempting to preserve peace. God is Good!