Lent has begun! Ash Wednesday remindeds us that from dust we have come and to dust we shall return, but through Jesus, the Christ, our sins become as dust. We become new creations in Christ; the past is finished and gone. Everything has become new! What hope lies in these words from 2nd Corinthians. What assurance we gain in our need for Jesus forgiveness.
The Lenten season this year gives us the opportunity to discover the biblical role of mercy, as well as what it means to apply mercy in our daily lives. Because we don't really use this word in our average daily conversation, important questions have emerged.
- Why is it important to 'know' mercy?
- What is the definition of mercy?
- What is the difference between grace and mercy?
Stories of God's mercy are found throughout scripture. We first hear of mercy in Genesis in the story of Joseph and his brothers. In the end, Joseph offers compassion and forgiveness to the family who left him for dead. At the end of the Bible, the little known book of Jude has 4 references which offer mercy almost as a blessing.
To 'know' mercy is to have received it and in turn, been able to share it. To know it means someone has "walked a mile in your shoes", shown you understanding and patience. Mercy includes action toward another - consider God's actions of mercy or provision which are "new every morning". (Lamentations 3:
The word mercy describes the action of extending grace. Grace is a gift which precedes mercy and mercy becomes grace enacted. Mercy is the daily acting out of grace upon others. Mercy begins with God as an action of care, provision and compassion. Once we have received it, we are compelled to share it!