Love is a Severe Mercy

Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. – Matthew 6:12

Love is a severe mercy. Love is costly, and we are called to follow Jesus in love. Love is never taken, it can only be given; and love can never be imposed, it must be received.

– thoughts from author Derek Maul

This morning there are so many directions I could go in this post that I can’t get going on any of them! So I will try the “List of Random Observations” approach and see where that leads.

  • Today is the first day of spring. I – especially as someone who lived so many decades in Florida – am a big fan of winter; but this gentle sunlight, the promise of 55-degrees, the new green buds and blossoms setting on the trees, and the daffodils in full glory, all combine to speak volumes about the sense of promise built into creation.
  • Early this morning my Saturday men’s Bible study talked about a chapter in 24 Hours that Changed the World titled “The Torture and Humiliation of the King,” focused on Christ’s beating, mockery by the Roman guard, the crown of thorns, and carrying his cross to Calvary. The “take-away” for me was this idea: You cannot be humiliated if you are already humble.
  • The point of treating Jesus that way was to demonstrate the “power” of the brutal Roman empire. The point of Christ’s humility and sacrifice was/is to demonstrate the real and lasting and redemptive power of love. Love wins. We win because Jesus loves.
  • Yet love is a severe mercy. Love is costly, and we are called to follow Jesus in love. Love is never taken, it can only be given; and love can never be imposed, it must be received.
  • Lastly, I am beginning to think seriously about tomorrow morning’s topic for my Sunday school class. Rebekah will be preaching on forgiveness. The petition from the Disciples Prayer can be translated/expressed in a variety of ways:

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you, just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.

Forgive us what we owe to you, as we have also forgiven those who owe anything to us.

Forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.

Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass  against us.

Forgive us as we forgive others

Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us.

The Disciples’ Prayer:

Jesus, Rebekah pointed out in her first sermon in the series, was teaching his disciples how to pray. “What we know as The Lord’s Prayer,” she said, “should more properly be called, The Disciples’ Prayer.”

I agree with her. We would do well to join Peter, Andrew, James, John, and their friends in their intention to learn from the Master.

Forgiveness is best experienced as a process. We understand that we need forgiveness; we accept God’s forgiveness; we also forgive others. In turn, as we forgive others, and as we ask others for their forgiveness, we are more able to both understand, to receive, and to live into the forgiveness God has for us.

It’s not that God would hold back forgiveness (as a kind of quid pro quo) so much as that we are more open to process God’s graces and mercies to the extent that we are humble, and honest, and vulnerable ourselves.

“Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed; the motion of a hidden fire that trembles in the breast” (Scots hymn writer James Montgomery, 1818).

Like I said, too much to write about all at once – DEREK

Bible faith leadership Men's ministry message The Church

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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