Aug. 17, 2016

Thinking (and living) outside the box...

I am studying about God’s mercy. Mercy is a beautiful thing. Mercy paves the way for forgiveness.  Mercy increases understanding. Mercy doesn’t seek to condemn, but seeks to salvage.

When I think about Jesus’ examples of mercy, I must be willing to look at His attitude towards sin. The blood of Christ is saturated with mercy because the sins of men run so deep. He forgives us; each and every one of us. His mercy is willing to send His Holy Spirit into our lives to work a miracle. The miracle is one of spiritual salvation.

People on the other hand have a more difficult time with mercy. Most of us value retribution believing all people deserve to be punished. Most of us prefer to harbor resentment more than we enjoy applying mercy.

In the story of the two blind begging for Jesus’ mercy, we see a remarkable lesson comparing the mercy of Christ to the reaction of men.

In Matthew 20:30-34, two men sat on the side of the road shouting to Jesus, “Lord Jesus, have mercy on us!” The human reaction was to try to shut them up and calm them down dismissing their cries for help. The people had an intense desire to take control of the situation. Jesus’ calling was to resolve the situation. The Bible says Jesus felt compassion. If we claim to belong to Him, where is our compassion brothers and sisters?

As I learn more about God’s desire for mercy, I am forced to examine the level of mercy I am willing to share with others. God willingly and openly showers me with His mercy; yet, I seem to want to withhold mercy when someone lives outside my well-defined box.

We’ve built boxes in our minds allowing us to compartmentalize what is good from what is bad. We embrace those living inside our box while we reject those existing outside our box. Jesus came to destroy the boxes. Jesus died in order that the box would be tossed and mercy would reign.

God didn’t create the box. He doesn’t call us to live in a box. We are so far removed from God’s teaching on mercy, we aren’t willing to get out our self-induced and arrogantly-designed boxes.

Let’s get our minds out of the box. Stop labeling people “good” or “bad.” Try instead to apply mercy in all circumstances. After all, that is what Jesus did and if we claim to follow Him shouldn’t we be doing it also?  Here’s the remarkable part about escaping the boxes: life outside the box is so much richer and love beyond the box is so much deeper! When our mind is boxed in, it doesn’t merely stifle others. It suffocates us.

*The artwork entitled, "Mind in a Box" is copyrighted along with this blogsite.