It’s not like the mercies of the world, where forgiveness may be offered, but our failings are filed away, only to be brought out to us again and again, as we invariably stumble.
Knowing this is especially important for someone like me who has a tenancy to hold on to guilt. Knowing that God has an infinite supply of mercy is such a comfort to me. Of course, I shouldn’t rely on mercy to get me through and just do whatever I want, whenever I want. I know I have a responsibility as a follower of Christ, to try to be like him. My striving to be like him should be just as infinite and forthcoming as God’s mercy is infinite and forthcoming for me. I should never give up trying, even though I know I will never quite get it all just right.
One of the most basic and also one of the most important things about Jesus that we, as Christians, need to emulate is the very mercy and compassion of which I speak. Our compassion for those around us should be new every morning. We cannot keep warming up our leftover resentment and dishing it back out repeatedly to those who have failed us. That gets old quick. We need to bake a fresh batch of mercy every day and serve it with a warm heart.
I will admit that this is one of the hardest things for some of us (read, me) to do. We have a long memory and we often feel that we need to remember what someone did to us in order that we stay sharp, so as to prevent the same thing happening again. We live our lives on guard for the next let-down.
This ultimately doesn’t work, however. We become so keen on protecting ourselves that we wound others with our sharpness. We sometimes cannot forget those wrongs on our own; we need God’s help to move us along and see things through a fresh set of eyes. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:43-45 to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us.
I believe one of the reasons Jesus instructed us to do love and pray is because, when we pray for someone, and ask to see them through His eyes and love them as he does, it becomes less easy to hold a grudge against them. To know that every human being has value, is a child of God with purpose and a position in this world, makes it really hard to harbor bitterness against someone. Especially if what we are holding against them is of a trivial nature. God wants us to let these things go, and to start with a brand new batch of mercy every day.
Yes, it is a phenomenal thing God does for me. The least I can do is try to be merciful myself. So, today I am committing to letting some things go. I am letting some old resentments and grudges drain away. I realize that keeping them is not serving any useful purpose to me and it is not following God’s example of compassion. I am going to do this. I can do this. I may need a double scoop of God’s grace in order to pull it off, but I can do it.