READ Romans 9:1-33
SITUATION The sovereign God told Moses that he would show mercy where he wants to show mercy, although no one deserves or can earn his mercy.
INSPIRATION Mercy is the deepest gesture of kindness. Paul equates the two. "Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ" (Ephesians 4:32). Jesus said:
"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you...If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? ... Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without hoping to get anything back. Then you will have a great reward, and you will be children of the most High God, because he is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin. Show mercy, just as your Father shows mercy (Luke 6:27-28, 32, 35-36).
Kindness at home. Kindness in public. Kindness at church and kindness with your enemies. Pretty well covers the gamut, don't you think? Almost. Someone else needs your kindness. Who could that be? You.
Don't we tend to be tough on ourselves? And rightly so. Like the young couple at the wedding, we don't always plan ahead. Like Zacchaeus we've cheated our share of friends. We've been self-serving. And like the woman with the illness, our world sometimes seems out of control.
But did Jesus scold the couple? No. Did he punish Zecchaeus? No. Was he hard on the woman? No. He is kind to the forgetful. He is kind to the greedy. He is kind to the sick.
And he is kind to us. And since he is so kind to us, can't we be a little kinder to our ourselves? Oh, but you don't know me, Max. You don't know my faults and my thoughts. You don't know the gripes I grumble and the complains I mumble. No I don't but he does. He knows everything about you, yet he doesn't hold back his kindness toward you. Has he knowing all your secrets, retracted one promise or reclaimed one gift?
No, he is kind to you. Why don't you be kind to yourself? He forgives your faults. Why don't you do the same? He thinks tomorrow is worth living . Why don't you agreed? He believes in you enough to call you his ambassador, his follower, even his child. Why not take his cue and believe in yourself?
In the book entitled Sweet Thursday, John Steinbeck introduces us to Madam Fauna. She runs a brothel and takes a liking to a prostitute by the name of Suzy. Madam Fauna sets Suzy up on a real date with a man, not a client. She buys Suzy a nice dress and helps her get ready for the evening. As Suzy is leaving, she, moved by Madam Fauna's kindness, ask her, "You have done so much for me, Can I do anything for you?"
"Yes," the older woman replies, "you can say, "I'm Suzy and no one else.'"
Suzy does. Then Madam Fauna requests, "Now say, "I'm Suzy, and I'm a good thing!'"
And so Suzy tries, "I'm Suzy, and I'm a good..." And Suzy begins to cry.
Wouldn't God want you to say the same words? In his book you are a good thing. Be kind to yourself. God thinks you are worth his kindness. And he's a good judge of character. (From A Love Worth Giving by Max Lucado)
APPLICATION Since the Father has shown you mercy, you should show mercy to others. Make a list of those to whom it is hard for you to show mercy. What could you do to soften your heart toward them? Act on what you know to be true.
EXPLORATION God's Mercy to People -- Exodus 34:6; Deuteronomy 4:32; Luke 1:50; Ephesians 2:4.
The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus, Max Lucado General Editor, Thomas Nelson Publishers, New Century Version.
WORDS TO WARM THE HEART
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God." Romans 12:2
"There is no salvation save in truth, and the royal road of truth is by the mind." Martin Cyril D'Arcy
"Reach out your hand to heal, and grant that wonders and miracles may be performed through the name of your holy Servant Jesus." Acts 4:30
"Be kind. Remember that everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Harry Thompson
"Kindness is loving people more than they deserve." Joseph Joubert
"Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence, and learning." Frederick William Faber
"Love is patient, love is kind." 1 Corinthians 13:4