Developing Godly Character Pt 11: Showing Mercy to our Enemies

mercifulSo, I had an attitude a couple of weeks ago against someone in the body who is just plain mean, and absolutely assured of her justification for every cruel thing she does. She hurts people without a sign of remorse. I know this because I have confronted her about it and she has a justification for everything, and not just a justification, but a pride in the things she does in the Name of God.

So I was brooding. And frankly I was feeling justified about brooding (funny how that works, eh?). Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, not His “outside voice” but the very insistent and unmistakable voice of correction.

“Feel pity for her in your heart and allow it to soften, because if she ever comes to repentance she is going to feel such terrible shame over what she has done.”

Wow. I was dumbstruck. It opened up a whole new realm of mercy for me. The importance of pitying my enemies and having a soft heart towards them, and not simply doing good towards them.

Notice what was not said:

“Make excuses for her.”

“Enable her.”

“Turn a blind eye to what she is doing.”

“Approve of what she is doing in dragging my Name and Word through the mud in sight of the world.”

What was involved wasn’t about her in any way shape or form, it was about the condition of my heart.

Pity.

I have done some terrible things in His Name, and I have been the victim of terrible things done in His Name. When I look back, it is with anguish and a very deep repentance that drives me to either do better and honor Him or die trying. Indeed, and I say this honestly, I would rather die than disgrace Him. It doesn’t mean that I won’t disgrace Him from time to time, but it does mean that His reputation in the eyes of the world is the most precious thing in my life during my sane moments – when I am not in the flesh or just being socially careless (which is why I hide behind a computer protecting you all from myself). Messiah didn’t die in order to give me an excuse for my actions, or so that I won’t have to feel grieved when I harm people, but in order to have mercy on me – mercy that would inspire me to change and become more like Him.

And I know the feeling of having my name unrighteously slandered, and I am not even perfect, I am not the Creator and Possessor of the Heavens and the Earth. I have not yet died for a single person. If my King and my Master have urged mercy, then that mercy must be flowing from the throne – not to excuse her but to transform me. My Sovereign is truly the one who looks bad when she does these things; He is the one who must send other messengers to those wounded lambs in order to bind the injuries slanderously inflicted in His Name.

If she repents, then I pity the depths of remorse she will feel just as I pity Paul over the memory of Stephen’s murder. If she does not repent, then I pity her even more because our transgressions against His character in the sight of His little ones will not go unanswered forever. He is patient and merciful, but He is no enabler.

Can I afford to extend less kindness, in my heart, in light of what lies in store for her one way or the other? I pity those who are not kind, for kindness will not be extended towards them. We will indeed be judged by the very God whom we inflict on others.

Psalm 18

24 So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

25 With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
    with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
26 with the purified you show yourself pure;
    and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
27 For you save a humble people,
    but the haughty eyes you bring down.

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