To Love Mercy

Things are going so well, I’m almost afraid to jinx it by writing about it. But, I like to give credit where credit is due, and I think the Lord is going to have to get credit for this one.

Somehow, the Lord touched Chef’s heart a few days ago. He hasn’t really shared any of the details with me, and I don’t think I even want to know. It was a moment between God and Chef, and it belongs exclusively to them. All I do know is that my marriage suddenly became peaceful again. Just like that, in a twinkling of an eye…

And all of this brings me to the subject of mercy. The day before my birthday, I actually went outside and looked up into the stars and asked God for help. Yes, I’ve prayed many times over all the things happening in my life right now, but this was one of the few times I physically tried to look God in the eye and beg for some direction. And His only answer to me at that moment was to be patient.

Patience is not one of my stronger gifts, and after almost a year of this stuff, I wasn’t pleased to hear I’d have to wait even longer. But, He’s God, so it isn’t like He was going to change His plans to accommodate me. I just had to suck it up.

The day of my birthday actually kind of sucked when it came to Chef. Yes, we weren’t engaged in open battle, but it wasn’t one of his finer moments either. I chose to ignore the disappointment and go to see Rock of Ages with a friend, and most importantly, I vowed to myself to show him mercy, even though I didn’t feel like it. And that’s the key right there. Sometimes, we have to decide to do something whether we feel like it or not. Feelings aren’t necessary for a righteous decision, though I will agree, they do make things easier. But mercy does come a little easier to me than patience, and I chose to try to hang on to my peace by exercising one of God’s principles for a happy life. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. And, boy, do I need plenty of that!!

I’ve always kept in the back of my mind the scriptures about mercy, even as a child, and how I’d like to have as much mercy as I can get from my God. I haven’t lived a sinless life by any stretch of the imagination,  so I have to show as much mercy as humanly possible to my fellow human beings here on earth. I don’t want to be afraid to see God’s face when I die, and this is one area that I push myself to exceed in each circumstance that presents itself.

 Proverbs 11:17:

17The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.

Matthew 5:7:

7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

 Luke 6:36:

36Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

I am not going to say that it was even the tiniest bit easy, but I was able to forgive someone who wasn’t in the slightest remorseful for the pain he’d caused me. And that was when God really manifested His power, because just that one struggling little act of faith and obedience I grudgingly tried to execute in my life opened up a floodgate in my husband’s heart, and set before my own eyes proof that the principles of the Lord truly do work. On top of giving me the peace that comes from trusting the Lord, having a clean conscience, and refusing to give up hope, I had the added joy of seeing some peace and hope enter back into Chef’s eyes, and that was almost the best part of the whole exercise.

I’m not naive. I have no doubt that this is just one tiny moment of rest in this war, but it was a glimpse that things won’t always feel like this, and it was a reassurance that God is still in charge of this whole drama. He knows what He is doing, and He deserves my trust. My hope rests securely in His hands, and I won’t grow sick from it being deferred and unfruitful.

If there is just one principle I have always hoped my children would understand and embrace, it the principle of mercy. We simply can not have too much mercy on each other. We should always try our best to forgive and dismiss the things people do to us that hurts us, whether it be on purpose or by accident. This ability seems to be something that is fast being a forgotten gift here in America. We are so constantly protective of our rights and other people’s respect for what we feel we deserve that we’ve forgotten that from the very cross He was hung on, Jesus asked His Father to forgive the people who’d nailed Him on it. There was no benefit to Jesus for that ultimate act of kindness that would outrank the effect His words would have on those who were guilty of causing Him so much pain. And because we also are guilty of causing Jesus grief, we should remember that mercy, and pass it forward.

In everything we do, let’s try to remember to be merciful…forgiving those who aren’t sorry and forgetting the wrongs that we have every earthly right to hold on to, in honor of Him who did the same thing for us, even though we are guilty daily of  heinous acts of betrayal, disrespect, and ingratitude.

Mark 12:31:

31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Micah 6:8

 He has shown you, O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord require of you

But to do justly,

To love mercy,

And to walk humbly with your God?

— Bird

Even A Blind Squirrel Finds A Nut Once In Awhile

My daughter Rebekkah recently wrote a post entitled An Answer For Everybody which was her response to all the differing opinions offered up to my post An Answer For Arkenaten. Since she has graciously allowed me to borrow her laptop since mine died a truly horrible death, I have been reading the comments to her post to her over the phone.

The battle of comments rages on even now over these two posts, and tonight Arkenaten wrote the following:

“Reborn Christians are some of the most uneducated of the Christians sects, having little or no true understanding of the history of their faith or the bible, and are even less inclined to ask pertinent questions.”

Now, on the one hand, I find this statement to be merely an opinion thrown out to insult the person he was debating with. But, when I read what Ark had written to Rebekkah, her response was, ” That’s true.” I was very taken aback when she said that, chastising her a bit for her seeming callousness. But when she explained why she felt this was a fair statement, I had to reluctantly admit that she was right. But not before I snarked back a little. I hate all-encompassing stereotypes. I really do. I did mention I am the Queen of the Knee-Jerk Reaction, remember?

I don’t agree that Arkenaten has thrown out this tidbit out of any real knowledge or wisdom, but like we Southerners like to say, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. So at last, he finally gave me something to think about.

One of Rebekkah’s points that I couldn’t argue with is the severe lack of knowledge of what the Bible says and where it says it. A few years ago, Chef was working at a restaurant in a corporate park, and some of the people who would frequent this place were students of the Rhema Bible College, located here in Tulsa.

Now, I absolutely do not want to insult any Christians. I merely want to get people to ask themselves if they truthfully know why they believe what they believe. If this message doesn’t pertain to you, please disregard it. Not everyone falls into this category. I speak only to those who tend to rely on other people — teachers, preachers, friends, parents, books.. — but have not studied the Word of God for themselves. With so much in print, both in books and on-line, added to televised media, we are inundated by information. But all of that information needs to be secondary…The Bible needs to be the First and Last Word on everything.

I had numerous conversations with people in that restaurant, and many of them were with people attending the Bible school. And while they seemed ready to hit me with some form of “Shock and Awe” theories designed to impress with dry quotes of philosophers and some real twisting of random verses, they seemed woefully lacking in the basics of the Bible. For instance, I have been instructed in detail how we were already living in Jesus’s 1000 year reign, but that same person couldn’t tell me why he believed this. He quoted professors, and offered up some random bible-sounding stuff, but when I inquired about where these verses were in the Bible, he said he would get back with me. I never saw him again. One woman tried to tell me that Mary was not a virgin, and went into a long diatribe about her theories on that little tidbit. That one made me sad, because you simply can’t cherry-pick what you want from the Bible and then throw the rest out. There seems to be a real wave of Cherry-Picking theologians coming out of Tulsa right now, and I find this really, really disturbing. But doesn’t the Word say in Hosea 4:6:

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”

Knowledge of what that Bible says is paramount to our walk with the Lord. A person who truly knows why they believe the way they do is not easily shaken from their beliefs. And satan is a worthy enemy. He knows how to attack us in our weakest points. By knowing the Word of God, we close down a lot of his abilities to attack us using our own minds; hence, the Word of the Lord is how we are able to carry our Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Ephesians 6:17.

Over the years, I’ve had many, many conversations with many, many Christians, and I would have to say that it is only a small amount of them that seem to have a firm grasp on what they believe and why they believe it, with scriptural references to back their beliefs up.

There are many excellent teachers of the scripture, both in the real world and here in Blogosphere. But as Romans 9 instructs us to do, we should study to show ourselves approved. An unbeliever should never know more about that Bible than a Christian does, unless a Christian is just starting out. But for those of us who have been followers for years, the Bible should be written on our hearts, a quiver of spiritual arrows, ready for any surprise attack satan would launch at us.

I don’t necessarily agree that Christians are the most uneducated, or that we don’t as a whole, ask pertinent questions, or know our faith’s history. But I do believe that there is always room for improvement, and seeing that the days of the end are getting near, I would encourage all of us, me included, to brush up on our Biblical knowledge, or if necessary, begin anew to commit God’s words to your heart. I don’t mean to randomly memorize verses, but instead, read the Word of God as a whole, so that the Holy Spirit will be able to bring to remembrance His instructions to us when we are really in need of it.

Tonight, when I read 2 Timothy 2, I also found these verses, and they seemed a clear instruction to me on how to handle the many, many debates raging on those two posts on my site:

14 Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,

17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.

19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

That tells me that these sorts of conversations are not useful for me, and I am fine with leaving them to other people.

I hope you all have a peaceful evening!

— Bird