Traits of God – Mercy

Broadway plays were never something that I had a desire to see. This was problematic for me because when Amber and I began dating, I quickly learned that plays, musicals and the world of the arts were very important to her. Her favorite was the Broadway musical, Les Miserables. I have to admit that before I met Amber I had no idea what it was even about. I mean come on, no football playing, bow huntin’, North Idaho boy would be caught dead watching some French play. At least that is what I thought at the time. It’s funny how God will use our wives to change us. Can I get an AMEN fellas?

In our second year of marriage Amber talked me into watching Les Miserables, or, as I learned the experienced say, “Les Miz.” I was immediately captivated by the story’s parallel to the Gospel. The original novel is a powerful story of mercy and forgiveness, written by Victor Hugo. The story follows the struggles of ex-convict, Jean Valjean as he experiences life changing mercy and redemption. Guys, if you have not seen the movie or play, you need to.

In my last blog I said that I would be writing on the character of God for a few weeks. I wrote about the awesomeness of God and how he truly is the only thing that is “awesome.” The next character trait I sensed the Holy Spirit teaching me about is “mercy.” Our God is an incredible, merciful God. When I understand sin and my own brokenness, I am left in a place of hopeless desperation. As we all have sinned (Rom 3:23) and deserve God’s wrath, we find God’s mercy pressing forward. Les Miserables is a story that effectively demonstrates a deep desire in our hearts for mercy. Jesus was the real thing! Jesus was mercy, he demonstrated mercy and he calls us to be merciful to others.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). Often in our culture we look at mercy as a weakness. We prefer justice and punishment of the offender (unless it is ourselves of course.) We forget the human state that we all are in, broken vessels that deserve justice, but instead were extended God’s incredible love through the one merciful act on the cross by Jesus Christ. As Matthew said in his Gospel, quoting Jesus, when we are merciful, God demonstrates his mercy upon us.

As I grow in my own journey following Jesus, I have learned that mercy is something we do, not just something we feel. We must live out mercy and care for those who are Les Miserables. Showing mercy is more than just having pity for someone. It is lending a hand or forgiving a debt in a way that might relieve someone else’s pain.

As a disciple, when you follow Christ, His Word and the Holy Spirit reveal your own need for mercy. You realize that in his awesomeness, God granted you mercy. He extended an eternal hand, relieving you of your miserable state. Now as one who follows, He asks you to also extend mercy to those that need His kind and caring touch. How can you extend mercy to someone in need?

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