by Chris Sitter
Choosing the Level of Mercy or Judgment That We Will Receive and The Mercy-Ometer
Imagine, dear fellow saint, that a billionaire met you one day in an especially generous mood. Realizing how good the world has been to him, he suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to “give back”, and YOU were the first person he bumped into. Pulling out his check book, he presents you with the good news that he’d like to write you a check, requesting that you please select which amount he should write—from the following options:
Knowing that any of these amounts would not place even the slightest hardship on this extremely wealthy man, it’s my hunch that most of us would probably choose option D. If you positioned each of these financial options on what we will call a “Money-Ometer”, option D would place the needle as pinning the right side of that gauge. After learning your name, our billionaire would simply fill in the appropriate dollar amount, and off you would go with smiling face, deposit slip in hand, and quite a story for your friendly bank teller.
Likewise, God Almighty, who holds the titles of both “Judge of All the Earth” (Genesis 18:25) and “Merciful High Priest” (Hebrews 4:15), presents the humans He has created with a similar option, related to the amount of Judgment and/or Mercy that they would like to personally receive in their lives. In other words, we get to set the needle on our own life’s “Mercy-Ometer”. “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:2). What an amazing privilege (and a terrifying responsibility). Matthew 5:7 also confirms this fact, where we read: “Blessed are the Merciful: for they shall obtain mercy”.
We see then, that our loving Heavenly Father—in His infinite wisdom and kindness—has provided us what I call “the double-motivator” to help us consistently choose to forgive and to show mercy to those who may have offended us. If Motivator #1, the desire to happily be blessed from being merciful, is not sufficient to help God’s sheep make good choices when holding the gavel, then God has provided us Motivator #2, the fearful and terrifying threat of what will happen if we choose to angrily slam down our judgment hammer—and “let ‘em have it!
Let us remember that it is indeed “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31), and that the fear of the Lord is both the beginning of wisdom AND the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 9:10 & Proverbs 1:7). Yes, He is slow to anger, but apparently choosing to judge others harshly will very clearly (according to Matthew 7:2) slide the needle of our Mercy-Ometer in a direction that will cause us to later regret our earlier gavel-slamming! I guess we could also call our meter the “Judgment-Ometer”, but I prefer to assume the best, that once God’s sheep have digested this eye-opening Truth, that we will indeed develop a LOVE for Showing Mercy (Micah 6:8).
The reality that we can actually place the needle on our own Mercy/Judgment-Ometer is indeed both WONDERFUL and TERRIFYING, and once we “get it”, we should find ourselves EMBRACING every opportunity to forgive the fellow sheep and/or relatives who have offended us, along with any unpleasant people at work, or obnoxious neighbors, and frankly ALL Kinds of Folks. Mercy will become a primary theme in our lives, for three reasons: A) Because choosing mercy pleases our heavenly Father who has been so kind and merciful to us; B) Because we have developed what I will call an “enlightened self-interest”, that choosing mercy actually allows US to procure more mercy from Heaven (something we ALL need plenty of); and C) Because this reality has scared the hellish desire to harshly judge others … right out of us.
What a GREAT and Loving God you are!! Thank You, Heavenly Father, for loving us so much, and for helping us to choose the life-giving path of choosing Mercy over Judgment. We need You, we praise You, and we thank You that You have shown us these things because You want what’s best for us. We acknowledge that YOU rule in the affairs of men (Daniel 4:17), and that You are the one who holds the heavenly gavel. We acknowledge that it is a righteous thing for you to harshly judge those who harshly judge others, to shower mercies on the merciful, and even for You to show mercy on the harsh—if you wish.
Let us ponder afresh four relevant passages from The Gospels, one from Deuteronomy, and then finish with a prayer.
“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:”
“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
These passages bring to mind Deuteronomy 30:19, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”
And now, let us pray:
Father in Heaven, help us to cheerfully release and bless those who have cursed us and wronged us—in line with Your direction to do so—and to completely forgive them, just as Your Son has so graciously “cleansed us from all unrighteousness” when we have confessed our sins (1 John 1:9). Please forgive us for the times when we—as an offence to You, and to our own detriment—held on to offences that we have been clearly commanded to release. We cannot relate to the multitude of offences that You endure daily, as men, women, boys and girls around the world “drink iniquity like water” (Job 15:16), and refuse to thank and acknowledge You for the “merciful kindness” (Psalm 117) and the great goodness You daily pour out to them—while they are yet sinners. Even the people who are called by Your Name, have so often hurt You by not turning from their wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14), for You have indeed “nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against” You (Isaiah 1:2).
For thousands of years (as Paul reiterated in Romans 10:21, from Isaiah 65), “All DAY LONG” You have “stretched forth Your hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people”. Yet you continued to give them nice weather, houses to sleep in, good food to eat, and so much more. Your “merciful kindness” has indeed been very GREAT to us all (Psalms 117). So, help us, please, heavenly Father, by Your grace, to grow in our ability to “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
While we know that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, it is often difficult for us to bless those who curse us. Your mercies are so great, and we have too often operated in our sinful flesh and not by your precious Spirit in this area. We appreciate your incredible and diverse work of Creation, but we cannot even begin to fathom part “b” of Psalm 145:9, “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works”.
Your Son was mocked, abused, betrayed, tortured, stripped, publicly shamed and killed while completely innocent and acting in love towards those who crucified Him. Yet, He determined to pull himself up on the nails driven through His hands, so He could mouth the words … ”Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”! Thank You so much for the unspeakable gift of Your Son, and help us all to LOVE MERCY for the rest of our days. In Jesus’ Name. And if ANYONE reading this is still holding on to that one person (or group of people) who wronged them so deeply that they still cannot forgive, I would ask all of those reading this, to agree with me right now, that that person would receive from heaven the grace and help to forgive and release those individuals completely, and that thoughts of how to show them kindness would enter their minds. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
One Final thought. I would venture to guess that just about everyone in this modern society keeps their approximate bank account balance in the back of their mind as they go through their week. And just as we would all enjoy watching that balance shoot up with our friendly billionaire’s $100K check, so may each of us daily load up our heavenly accounts (Philippians 4:17) by consistently choosing to show mercy, forgiveness (and even kindness) when wronged, that the needles on our Mercy-Ometers may stay pinned to the good side of that very sobering gauge. May we all cheerfully choose Mercy over Judgment until we finish the number of our days on this Earth and personally report to Our Lord. Jesus Christ is Lord of All. Praise His Holy Name!
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