Friday, August 13, 2010
"The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving..."
"Forgive Quickly." It's been almost two decades since one of our pastors admonished us with those words in our pre-marital class. During those weeks of preparation for marriage with other engaged couples, we received much wise instruction from our pastor through God's Word. Yet those words "Forgive Quickly" have continually reverberated in my heart and mind. This truth has been a healing balm to my heart and in my marriage. And I am thankful my husband forgives me quickly, too.
Withholding forgiveness can be destructive. Our hurt, self-righteousness and pride can build dangerous walls. God's love, mercy and forgiveness flowing through us will protect and strengthen our marriage union and our "cleaving" together. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:24
When I feel an unwillingness to forgive quickly welling up in my heart, I am humbly reminded of the abundant mercy God has shown me in my life. My heart is humbled and I race to show mercy. I do love His mercy. "And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
In his book "Devotions For A Sacred Marriage", Gary Thomas writes:
"Because we married a sinner, we're going to see some ugly, ugly things. That's why our attitude toward another's sin will determine in large party, the degree of intimacy we can achieve in marriage.
Love mercy. Micah isn't telling us merely to demonstrate mercy or only to practice mercy; he tells us to fall in love with it. The wide, biblical concept of mercy includes forgiveness but also has roots of loyalty. This is a loyalty and forgiveness seasoned with graciousness and kindness -- particularly to those who don't deserve it. It is one of the most beautiful words in the English language and certainly one of the most precious truths in the Christian faith.
What does it mean to fall in love with mercy? It means I am to become mercy's biggest fan. Having received mercy from God, I am to walk in assurance and thankfulness, using my own gift of mercy as the lens through which I view anyone else's sin -- including that of my spouse."
Mercy: Roots of loyalty. Forgiveness seasoned with graciousness and kindness. Precious truth.
My heart is stirring. We are to love mercy. Mercy forgives quickly. Jesus forgives quickly. "Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.' Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.'" Luke 23:42-43
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32
Put away unforgivness and pride. Let's take our hands off of our hips, and let's outstretch our hands to our merciful, perfectly loving God. Let's race to show mercy!
Our own forgiveness came at a precious, costly price to our Redeemer. In humility, reverence and awe, may we be quick to forgive. "This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:28
Congratulations to Rob & Becky! They will be receiving "Devotions for a Sacred Marriage"! Rob and Becky - the book is on the way to you today!