Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? (John 8:1-5)
This is an interesting passage. The Pharisees were partially correct in their conclusion (but they apparently didn’t bring the guilty man who was obviously also taken in adultery).
Here is another passage:
And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
11And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
12But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
13But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Matthew 9:10-13
And then, just one more:
And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
32For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
33And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
39And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
40The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
41And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
42Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. Luke 6
Here are some important things I’ve been thinking about:
- Our Heavenly Father sets an example of parenting: We are to imitate his mercy with others (including our children). We may not know how to be merciful with our children, but we should long for mercy, and desire the Holy Spirit to teach us what mercy looks like, and help us to be merciful. (Luke 6:36)
- One way we can be merciful with our children is to show kindness to them when they don’t deserve it (even when they are unthankful). Luke 6:35
- Another way is to pray for them. That’s certainly not the only way we can show mercy, but it is an important one. I mentioned to a friend that I am most likely to righteously correct my children when I am thinking in the future. If I am more concerned about my immediate hurt or lack of reward (well behaved children would be a nice reward), then I am more likely to be correcting in anger and resentment. On the other hand, if I can look to the future and see how their sin will affect them as an adult, or if I can see how their sin is limiting their ability to serve God, and anything like that, I’m far more likely to speak and act with compassion and kindness. Luke 6:35 again!
- It is merciful to consider how I also struggle with the same sins. In many cases, it means talking about the things God is teaching me. Talking about how I do know that it’s hard to obey when I don’t understand or like what God has said. How I have to trust God when I obey him. Sometimes, it means that I have to start obeying God. (Luke 6:41!)
- Mercy does not mean God does not discipline. We must meditate carefully on Hebrews 12:5-11, in particular with God’s goals for our discipline.
- On the other hand, we tend to be good at imposing discipline. We are critical of wimpy mothers who avoid painful discipline. And yet, Jesus didn’t start stoning the woman caught in adultery. Why not? I suspect that there is a clue in another verse: He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13 I have spent a long time thinking about the implications of this verse when my children sin.
- I am learning as my children get older, that it is helpful to give them space after we’ve talked about a problem. After they have consequences for misbehavior, I want them to repent and give evidence of repenting right away. I want them to wipe away the bad attitude and instantly put on the new, with me watching carefully to see if it’s genuine. This isn’t a good approach. I like to do my repenting in private, don’t you? My children respond better when I attempt to help them understand what God expects, and then I challenge them to spend some quiet time with God talking to him about the problem, then come find me again. I’ve noticed when I give them space and privacy, they often surprise me with a righteous response. Isn’t it merciful to give time for a child to repent?
[…] a month ago, I wrote a long post on mercy. Today I’d like to revisit that theme and consider how I apply the biblical principles we […]