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Devotion #21 – Friday March 4

The Mercy Gift – “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7
How do we know if we understand the mercy of God? How do we know His gospel of grace has really sunk into our hearts and become a part of us? Here’s an easy test. Jesus summarizes it here: If you are the kind of person who shows mercy, you are the kind of person who has experienced mercy. Merciful hearts grow from seeds of mercy sown in them. If we have really tasted forgiveness, we will lengthen its chain and offer it to others. Jesus proves this point: A servant owed a king an impossibly huge sum of money. Not able to pay, the servant & family could be sold into slavery. Begging for time, the servant drew sympathy from the king, who generously forgave the debt. Had he really experienced mercy? No, he had benefited from it, but he hadn’t really understood it. He went out and demanded trivial payments from his debtors, bringing full charges against those who could not pay. Mercy had never sunk in. He had no clue. We’re often the same way. Every time we judge another for forgetting to return a borrowed item, for cutting in fron of us in traffic, for slighting us or assaulting our dignity, for careless words, or for any other real or imagined insult, we have forgotten. The slights and insults, assaults and carelessness that we’ve heaped on God – and been forgiven for – are infinitely greater than anything we’ve ever been subjected to. And yet Jesus died for us while we were still sinners! That kind of grace is utterly amazing. Human nature is hypocritical. We regard others’ offenses much more highly than our own. Ours were simply oversights: theirs are insults. That’s a double standard. Test: Are you judgmental towards others? Easily offended? Go back to the Cross and meditate on the forgiveness God has given you. It will thoroughly cure you of any lack of mercy.

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