The Ultimate Gift You Can Give Is Mercy
I was sitting in church this week and I was very touched on what my pastor spoke about the issue of mercy, especially during the Christmas season.
He began to talk about three parables in Luke 15 that speaks more about the beautiful mercy of God. However, one parable really stuck out to me even though I’ve heard the story preached many times in the past.
But it struck a very distinct tone within my heart as I listened to pastor preach on this. This is when I knew I had to read & study this parable a little more on my own. ...the story of the prodigal son.
Little side note: it is very important that we set aside time of quietness devoted to reading the Bible and praying to God. Not saying that I am perfect but I know that my day goes better and with purpose when I do this versus on days that I don’t. David and I go over the importance of having a morning routine (or night routine if you are more of a night owl) on our podcast if you would love to check this out!
Study of The Prodigal Son
As I am writing this post, I just did a more in-depth look into the parable of the prodigal son. My heart just wanted more understanding of how God, our father, is to us…His love for us extends farther than any man can comprehend. This is why we believers of Jesus Christ, strive to be more like Him, the image of perfect love along with grace and MERCY.
Luke 15:11-32 the story of the prodigal son. (I would read it from the Bible so you can have understanding of the blog post.)
For quick access to read this, you can read here.
We Can All Relate To The Prodigal Son or Daughter
First of all, we can all relate to being like a prodigal son or daughter in this story.
Sometimes, we go out, wanting to do our own thing or do things our own way. We want to receive our “property & money” and live life on our own terms. But, the problem is we become lost in who we are in the process. We become confused and lose focus on why we are living.
But, sometimes, like the father had to let the son go, this is hard for the person on the other end that wants what is best for us, no matter how painful it may be. This is how God feels whenever we turn away from Him. He just wants us to go home to Him.
We feel like we cannot go home.
The prodigal son “squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.” (v. 13-14)
But, as the prodigal son or daughter, we feel like we cannot go home & run into our father’s arms… because we feel like we were too reckless, have lost it all or “squandered” everything we already had and we cannot get it back.
After wasting so much time, money, and energy on the wretched things.
After doing so much wrong.
After saying harsh words that you wish you can take back.
After staying in a relationship for years that you knew was toxic & harmful to you.
After holding onto the grudge over something you do not even remember.
After turning down the real help you need.
After resisting the love from your family and friends for so long.
Have you ever felt this way before? Maybe you can relate to this parable of the prodigal son (or daughter).
Picture of Mercy
This is the messy yet beautiful picture of mercy from God, our father. Grace and mercy goes hand-in-hand.
Grace is getting what you DON’T deserve. Love is offered. Arms are open. You’re invited to be home.
Mercy is NOT getting what you deserve. Not being pushed away. Not being ignored. Not rejecting you. No “I told you so.” or “Now look at who want to come back.” Just “come home, my love.”
In mercy, you are celebrated.
God isn’t just glad for you to come home. He CELEBRATES whenever his son or daughter finally come home.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him…But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:20, 22-24 ESV
The father accepted you for who you are before the beginning of time. This is why He sent His only Son Jesus to be born on earth, our Savior and only hope to take away our sins. The story of the prodigal son all unfolds because of our father’s everlasting love, grace, and mercy.
And, since we are offered this unending stream of new mercies everyday (Lamentations 3:22-23), God wants us to do the same.
Give Mercy, Not the Opposite
God has called me to extend more of His mercy and grace to people that I know, especially with Christmas just around the corner. And, I’ll be honest, I have not done such a great job at this. I have a default tendency to cut people off very quickly if they do me wrong, and I have especially done so in the past. And, I wish I did not do so.
I know if I was in the other person’s position, even though in my eyes they messed up, I would want to receive God’s mercy, just like the father was with his prodigal son.
The Opposite Reaction to Mercy
But, so often, we feel like the person that messed up so badly gets the “special treatment”. Just like how, in the story, his older brother responded when he found out what his father did to celebrate his brother’s homecoming. The brother, surprisingly, was angry, but this was not the right attitude and right heart God wants us to have.
“But he was angry….he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’” Luke 15:28-32
The celebration was in the fact that the prodigal son was not lost anymore, he was found. It does not matter about everything you’ve done right, it is God’s mercy that saves you.
The older son found his identity in what he DID for his father. But, the younger son, the prodigal son, found his identity IN the father and was welcomed home.
What a beautiful feeling to know that our father’s love and mercy will always extend further than we can ever imagine or comprehend.
Mercy is a gift.
I want to improve and become more merciful as God’s mercies never end. Mercy is the ultimate gift you can give. Not only on Christmas. Mercy can be given at any time or day of the year.
Who can you give mercy to?
Who can you give mercy and grace to? I am quite sure a person’s name or two popped up in your head after I asked this question. Is it your brother or sister? Your spouse? Is it a parent? Is it your church member? Is it your neighbor across the street? Is it someone you work with?
Mercy, when given, not only changes the person it is given to but also to the giver. It changes hearts. It changes lives. It opens homes. It can alter the trajectory of someone’s path to eternity.
So, let’s choose to give mercy instead. If you do not know how or think you are incapable, God will help you if you ask.
Thank you for reading,