LET MERCY ROAR!
Sometimes we may think of extra merciful-seeming people as the touchy-feely, sappy, softies among us. Perhaps they are not quickly associated with being strong, justice-minded, or protector types. Yet, mercy - prevailing in our hearts and shared in genuine love and truth - is “the toughest power of all”, watering transformation with wings of light emerging from darkest oppression’s pull. Mercy trumps judgement (James 2:13) and helps us rise-up in faith, hope and love. It is powerful. Christ’s mercy roared through hell, swallowed sin and death, and took on sin's penalty/judgement on our behalf.
When someone is in desperate need of mercy and suffering at the hand of injustice or legalism’s blinding hypocrisy, I want to hear mighty mercy roar. I want to see the heart of the One who is both Lion and Lamb converge in rage with love in truth to shatter what hinders the hurting & shield them in His grip. I also want to experience the roaring lioness come out from within myself more. And I desire to witness it from others more too – that all of us might be less concerned with the opinions of others or influenced by group-thinking, releasing mercy with the mind of Christ. I think I’m not alone in having these wants and desires.
The time is now...
Seriously, how many people have risen-up, transformed, or fruitfully changed because their guilt was pointed out by those judging them (whether rightly or wrongly)? Rather, it’s on the back of mercy that we are lifted with hope – despite harsh realities we may also need to face. On the back of Christ’s mercy and poured out love, we can rise, bloom, and help the Kingdom harvest. Humble acknowledgement that Christ shouldered our burden to lift us up on the back of His merciful sacrifice is the first step to fruitful sharing of that love He first poured out for us…
Those who have first recognized they need mercy are the best mercy-sharers. I believe the ‘blessed merciful’ must also be the blessed pure. For they are the ones better seeing the merciful love of God first given to them - genuinely grasping grace, they pour it out in pure lives simply lived in gratitude. Mercy motivated Mary Magdalene to defy all her cultural norms and extravagantly pour out the precious perfume to comfort Jesus, wanting him to feel known, understood, cared for, and valued above all else.
Stephen, while being martyred, still had the strength of soul to mercifully pray for those persecuting him, as he fixed His eyes upon his Lord of mercy. Among those he interceded for was Saul (to later be named Paul). After that prayer, Paul, the one who had murdered multitudes, was massively transformed and formed the foundation of much of the new testament. Mercy is most mighty! Merciful love transforms, not judgement - this is the missional Way, approach, and gift Jesus gave us when He took upon Himself the judgement for all!
He did not do this so that people would go their own way with their own approaches – hobbling off to heap it back on themselves or others! How would that be faith, purity, mercy, humble gratitude, pure living? It is weak, insecure, delusional living that can only oppress us and others, as well as convey oblivious ingratitude to the One who cried out in roaring mercy to remove judgement’s wrath. Have you felt roars uprising within you - about the Good News harmfully misused, disguised in legalism, judgementalism, stigmatizing stereotypes, arrogant oversimplified presumptions, and shaming responses? My heart cries out too for those needlessly injured by toxic messages in the name of freeing truth, and for those exhausting themselves in service that is unknowingly helping to erect and uphold these disorienting barricades. Those divides that Christ dismantled at the cross and was resurrected to save us from!
The problem is that compliance with these ‘drug-pedaling’ ways can provide a powerful ‘high’ bringing good sensations connected to being accepted, being deemed special by prominent people in a given group, belonging in a group-minded way that seems more ‘right’… It’s hard to let go of such highs, especially when it seems too good to be true that there is something better to help our insecurities, and when our thinking is muffled in group-mindedness, and when the experience of God’s true love has not been experienced, in part due to the commonality of these camouflaging convincing distortions claiming to be Christianity.
So the next time it seems someone(s) trying to ‘exact a pound of flesh’ from us or someone else, or when we are feeling tempted into such exacting ways ourselves– recall the lamb’s lion-ous roar of mercy, while his flesh was crushed to pay for our deliverance. Let’s fix the eyes of our hearts on His mercy poured out and let it prevail out from within us as well.
This is the time - Let Mercy Roar!
Examples of when it might be a "Mercy Roar" time:
*You or those around you seem to be living out of ‘shoulds/oughts/musts’ to be somehow become more acceptable, secure, or Christian.
*Your gut tells you something is ‘off’ about the way you are feeling pressure to interpret/judge others or a situation rather than seeking to better listen, care and understand something challenging.
*When you or others seem to need simple absolute explanations for issues that may be complex and murky (in order to feel secure or defend why something ‘wouldn’t happen to you’ and ‘did to him/her’)
*When you or those in your group consider people who may struggle in ways you have not experienced directly or that those in your group seem less prepared to know how to ‘deal with’, and then you feel inclined to give simplified or over-spiritualized responses to (examples can relate to mental health struggles, less visible handicaps, racial, gender, cultural, political or sexual arenas).