For the month of January we will be praying for 31 Virtues for our Kids maybe even for ourselves too!
Luke 6:36 (New International Version)
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Mercy~compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence; an act of kindness, compassion, or favor
A couple Sundays ago, I did an object lesson with the kids in Jumpstart Kids Ministries. I had one of the kids come up and play a game with me. The game rules were that she had to answer ALL 1o questions right that I was going to ask her. If she didn't get them ALL right she was going to get squirted with a little water gun. If she got them all right she would get a yummy candy bar. She agreed to the terms of the game. She didn't get one question right....well that was partly my doing, I asked her riddles. I then teased her and got out my giant super soaker to spray her because she didn't get any right. We all agreed that is what she deserved. She even took her glasses off to get ready for the spray of water that was about to come her way.
Now of course at this point I did not douse her in water as exciting that may have been. The children were very excited about the idea of it. Nope, I wanted to teach them the ideas of mercy and grace. Mercy was given to the student by me not spraying her with the super soaker. I had compassion on her even though it was the punishment she knew she was to receive. Mercy is not getting what you deserve.
I then went a little further and gave her the candy bar even though she didn't get a single answer correct. I told the kids that this is grace....getting what you definitely did not deserve. She did not deserve that candy bar. But that is exactly what grace is all about.
I want my children to fully understand mercy and grace. I want them to show mercy to those that hurt them as hard as that may be. Hey, I need a good dose of mercy at times too. As humans that natural tendency is to hurt as we have been hurt. But God is always asking us to do what He is calling us to do, walk in mercy.
Yesterday, we talked about justice....we need to love justice; but it must be coupled with mercy. To many times we are ready to be just but not ready to give mercy. Mercy is showing God's great compassion in this very lost world. Mercy also means acts of kindness, compassion and benevolence.
There is no greater time than now to show mercy....
I have posted two pictures of places that desperately need our love, mercy and grace. The first one was taken by me in Jamaica at the orphanage that I went to last November. The second is a picture taken by missionary Matt Love from Dominican Republic last week as he was in Haiti. In that picture Convoy of Hope is passing out food to those in great need. We need to be merciful in times like these.
*"May my children always be merciful, just as their Father is merciful."
Our Father is merciful! Our punishment we deserve is eternal death; but in His great Mercy He has provided Grace!
*by Bob Hostetler, it is excerpted from Pray! magazine issue #4, 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Kids