Friday, January 18, 2013

More Mercy, Please!

James 2:1-13

Last night around the dinner table, we talked about the greatest commandment.

Matt. 22:37-40

Snack we took down for the kids, dirt cake!
They normally have bananas for snack everyday.
37  Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

And then John asked them about the next 2nd greatest commandment.

39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

I think sometimes as Christians we forget how important that second commandment is.  It is easy to get so caught up it trying to get the first one right that we don’t allow our love for God flow out in love for others. 

Kindergarten children enjoying every little bite!
Here in James, he is correcting the Jewish Christians of their bad behavior.  For a lot of us, it is easy to show kindness to those who are equal to us or above us in society. I hate to think it is for selfish reasons, possibly in hopes that we can get something out of them; but it is for probably more of that reason than any spiritual reason.  Sometimes you just need to call a spade a spade.  We favor people…a lot.  I mean come on it is easier to show kindness to some one who looks nice, smells nice, and talks intelligently in hopes that we can move up the social ladder along with them.  We want them to do for us, what we won’t do for those beneath us.  Ouch!     

But God is calling us to much more.  He knows our motives all to well. He wants us…
Getting their hair braided for the week and playing.
To love the forgotten
To love the smelly
To love the hungry
To love the uneducated
To love those who look different than us
To love those who have nothing
To love the lonely
To love the unlovely
To love all with disregard to their social status
To show mercy…to be like Christ who humbled Himself, lowered Himself to live among us. 

Washing their clothes.
We need to learn mercy.  God has shown us all mercy if we take some time to think about it. defines mercy this way… compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner.

Miss. Laura their teacher and us trying to help.  
How many times has God shown mercy on us?  Too many times to count, I am sure.  I remember feeling mercy like never before 8 months ago.  When we deserved God’s wrath…He showed us mercy.  I have a new understanding of what God’s mercy truly is and how beautiful it is to give to those in need of it.  You can be one who shames Christ’s mercy by your lack of mercy; or you can draw people to Christ’s mercy by showing them your own mercy.  You can break a person in your wrath and by showing unkindness.  You can also bring healing and restoration when you show mercy and compassion to others.

Because we need to remember who we were….   

I was forgotten; but God knows my name!
I was smelly; but God washed me and made me clean!
I was hungry; but God gave me the Bread of Life!
I was uneducated; but God showed me His Word!
I looked different; but God gave me garments of righteousness!
I had nothing; but God demonstrated His love to me, a sinner, by dying for me.
I was lonely; but God bent down and heard me.
I was unlovely; but God sees me as His masterpiece. 
I was beneath His status; but God made me co-heirs in Christ.
I needed mercy; He shows me mercy everyday.

We are not any different then the poor of this world.  God help us if we ever forget who we once were and ever begin to think more highly of ourselves then we ought. 
My sweet Marvis!

Now is the time to say hello to the kid at church who has pink hair and tons of tattoos, give some money to the guy standing outside the store begging, go work down at the mission, help a single mom working two jobs to support her kids by babysitting and giving her a break,  put money in the red bucket at Christmas time, take a elderly person on a fixed income out for a nice dinner,  sit with a person at church who doesn’t smell good,  support and orphan,  go fix something at a widows house,  give your kids clothes away instead of trying to sell them in your next garage sale, give to your church’s benevolence fund without a judgmental heart, give to Convoy of Hope (I have a link on the side here for it), go on a missions trip, help someone find a job…the list can go on and on.  
All the school supplies, pj's, and flip flops we brought with us
that were donated by so many wonderful people.  

Ask God what you can do today.  I promise He will give you an answer.  Once you have done these things, your view of them and yourself will unexpectedly change for the better. 

 But if you have been merciful,
God will be merciful when he judges you.
James 2:3b

I will be merciful; because in God’s great love for me, He showed me mercy!

Picture taken by missionary Matt Love while John was on a
missions trip to the Dominican Republic.

The pictures are from my trip to an orphanage in Jamaica 3 years ago, except the last one.

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