Scripture: "But in Your great mercy, You did not destroy them completely or abandon them forever. What a gracious and merciful God You are!" Nehemiah 9:31
Have you ever felt completely desperate for help but totally undeserving? When I was in high school, I completely slacked off and didn’t have enough credits to finish my junior year. I didn’t deserve to graduate, but the school had mercy and let me pass. Have you ever been in a similar situation? Mercy is “kind and gentle treatment of someone having no right to it.” And it’s the 2nd way God describes Himself. When He says He is merciful, He’s saying it’s His natural tendency to be kind and gentle to people who don’t deserve it—people like you and me.
So who gets God’s mercy? It’s one of those things that is backwards in our minds. We think, “Good behavior=kind treatment.” You should get what’s coming to you, right? Wrong! Remember the definition of mercy: Kindness to those who don’t deserve it. Imagine the biggest outcast you knew growing up—the kid no one wanted to be near. Maybe you felt like that, unloved and not good enough. Well that was this blind man. When Jesus was on Earth, people thought blindness was caused by sin. Can you think of an affliction you or someone has today that people think is their fault? Maybe it’s being divorced, depressed, sick, or poor. We judge others, thinking, “It’s their fault they’re like that.” Or we judge ourselves, thinking, “I deserve these circumstances. I don’t deserve mercy.”
But God looks down on the desperate and thinks: They really need my help! And if they are humble enough to call out to God, that’s exactly what He’ll do. Read this story about Jesus and a blind man to prove it:
As Jesus was coming near Jericho, there was a blind man sitting by the road, begging. When he heard the crowd passing by, he asked, “What is this?” “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,” they told him. He cried out, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!” The people in front scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David! Have mercy on me!” So Jesus stopped and ordered the blind man to be brought to Him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Sir,” he answered, “I want to see again.” Jesus said to him, “Then see! Your faith has made you well.” At once he was able to see, and he followed Jesus, giving thanks to God. When the crowd saw it, they all praised God. Luke 18:35-43
What made Jesus stop for the blind man? No one else cared about him. In fact, they all thought he deserved to be blind. Jesus should help more deserving people, people with very good backgrounds or prestige. But it was actually the very thing that people thought separated him from God that brought him near…his desperation and humility. When you are an afflicted outcast, pride goes out the door. And that humble place is exactly what draws God. “Though the LORD is great, He cares for the humble, but He keeps His distance from the proud.” Psalm 138:6 If you are afflicted and humble, you are exactly who God wants to help.
Are you in a desperate place right now? Maybe it’s your job, health, or a relationship. Maybe you’re just desperate to hear from God and feel His love. You might feel that you don’t deserve it (truth is, none of us do!), but that’s exactly the time when God wants to show you mercy. Be like the blind man and cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And like him, keep doing it until Jesus grants your request. No matter how many people tell you to keep quiet or give up hope, keep crying out to Jesus! He will turn around and hear your request—He is merciful!
Here are some everyday examples of God’s mercy. What’s yours? Do you have a story of God’s goodness to you? Post it below! We’d love to hear it. God is so merciful to us!
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* The Prayer, Care and Share Jesus (PCS) series is a guide to help you PRAY and CARE for others and SHARE your faith in Jesus *
Your PRAY NOW Challenge: "LORD, help me to know your mercy! Help me to shower others mercy, especially when they don't deserve it. Thank you so much for your continued mercy for me even though I don't deserve it."
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Will you pray this week:
• God will shower his mercy on all people
• God will help me to give mercy to people who don't deserve it
• help me understand that good behavior does not = mercy
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