Originally scheduled for May 19
It sometimes comes as a surprise to modern
Christians that the word “mercy” encompasses the idea of putting up
Let me give you an example. Most of us have
known at one time or another someone who is the absolute epitome of
an uncouth clod. That’s the kind of person whose manners, if they
exist at all, are woefully deficient for their position in life. You
know, of course, that society as a whole is not going to give you
the slightest bit of help in reforming such a person. We are
enamored with the concept that each of us should “do your own
thing.” So what your grandmother would’ve referred to as rude and
crude now seems to be just personal style.
One thing about it though: it is a chance to
show mercy. And as the good Lord teaches us, blessed are the
merciful for they shall obtain mercy.
Have you ever ask yourself whether or not
that’s a fair exchange? We know that God is merciful to the
merciful. It’s often presented to us as something which is a matter
of fairness; if I forgive you, then it’s only fair that you should
forgive me. Sometimes this idea creeps into our relationship with
God. I’m a very forgiving person; it’s only fair that God should
forgive me. Get that idea out of your mind. It is not a fair
exchange of mercy. What do I give up? I give man’s mercy, flawed and
sinful as it might be. God, in his infinite love, gives me his
mercy, pure and sinless.
You can see the difference. Forgiveness between
two sinners is, sometimes, a matter of fairness. Sometimes it
reaches the point that you can even laugh about it. But man’s
forgiveness is limited; just like man’s patience. God’s forgiveness
is not limited. He made that point to us at the cross. Look at it
this way: Christ, on the cross, forgave those who are executing him.
Some of those very same people who were sneering at him and mocking
him became members of the First Christian Church of Jerusalem about
50 days later. Think about it; it’s tough for us to forgive our
friends and loved ones. He demonstrated his forgiveness to those who
were sneering at him and executing him.
That’s one of the reasons that he gave us the
Lord’s Supper. He wanted us to remember the example of mercy that he
gave us at the cross. He did not give us an example of a fair
exchange of forgiveness. He gave us the highest example of God’s
unconditional love for his children. As you partake this morning,
remember the price that was paid to put that unconditional love into
effect. His body, his blood were sacrificed for you. Therefore,
examine yourself and take the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner. It
is not a fair exchange — but then, love never is.