When I read Jesus’ instruction to be merciful like my father is merciful, I automatically ask myself whether I’m showing mercy to others today, or this week.
More often than not, it seems, thinking about mercy reminds me that I need mercy for myself. I’m a little embarrassed, and I feel unworthy to think about giving mercy at that moment, so I shrink back. It seems that when we are most in need of God’s mercy, we sometimes avoid it. Instead we try again to be better, but we do it without thinking about God’s mercy too closely. What if feeling inadequate to show mercy to my children actually was the beginning of spiritual growth? Wouldn’t an awareness of my need for mercy be part of God’s convicting work in my heart, leading me to repentance or greater dependence on him?
In this case, the best thing I can do about learning to show mercy to my children (and to others) is to pursue God’s mercy for me. What kind of mercy do I need? Forgiveness? Help? Relief? Guidance? Patience? How can I be sure that God will give me the mercy I am asking for? What do I know about mercy?
I may not know the next place God wants me to be with my children, but I know the way to get there is through my relationship with him. So I’m going to take some time to think on purpose. I’ve been interested to think about the different ways I can show mercy to my children, but I’ve not taken time to think of mercy in the same way for myself. When I’m thinking about God’s mercy to God, I think only of my need for forgiveness and God’s mercy for sinners.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16