"The Miracle of Mercy"
No opportunity more offers us experience of God's love than bestowing upon others the forgiveness we have received from God.
"Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 5:2).
The love that flowed unto us, and now flows within us, is best known not in our reception, but in our serving as the conduit of distribution to others. This is not to minimize the wonder of being pardoned through the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must never allow ourselves to become less than amazed by the grace whereby our Heavenly Father absolves our sins through the merits and work of our Savior -"for Christ's sake." Eternity will not suffice in a full experience and knowledge in each of our hearts that somehow the mercy of God found, as the greatest of all hymns intones, "a wretch like me." Still, our best assimilation of Divine love occurs when we give rather than receive as the indwelling Holy Spirit miraculously enables our capacity to forgive as we have been forgiven. "Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8).
No honest human being will claim that forgiving offenders comes naturally. It rather comes supernaturally through the love of God "shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). The Forgiver lives in the forgiven, having first provided pardon, and then providing the means whereby the river of God's mercy constitutes our hearts as tributaries of bestowal to others as well as reception by ourselves. We play a role in the holy process, trusting and submitting ourselves to our Lord in the confidence He will empower our capacity to "bless them that curse you, do good to them that despitefully use you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). Grace thereby amazes us leading us to serve as its tributary no less - and even more - than as its beneficiary. The miracle of mercy that found us now indwells and empowers us to "walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6).
The first step of forgiveness is hard as we overcome through Christ the temptations of devils, the world, and the flesh to embrace bitterness. However, the path thereafter offers to us discoveries of God's gracious character that thrills and fills the heart of all who will serve as "vessels of mercy" (Romans 9:23). "How can God forgive me?" This is the first question. "How can God so enable me to forgive others?" This is the second question, and again, the ongoing inquiry whereby we best discover how merciful our Lord really is…
"It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Weekly Memory Verse
But God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.