Parenting is ridiculously hard. Especially when you have more than one child. When you punish one, the rest tend to inherit the punishment...sort of like secondhand smoke. How many of us grew up with smoking parents or grandparents who thought nothing of smoking in enclosed cars or rooms, filling our lungs with all those noxious fumes that were poisoning our little kid lungs and seemingly not caring when you coughed and sputtered and begged for air....
Ahh, but I digress.
In our house, we like to extend mercy to the kids when we can. We figure it: a. models Christ and b. allows us to see a movie when one of the kids ruins it for the whole crew.
But I was wondering the other day if we had given too much mercy to a certain child who shall remain nameless. He seemed to expect it. He even asked, "what about mercy?" So it got me thinking about how often God extends mercy to us, and why He does. Why does He do it sometimes, and others He leaves us to wallow in our God-imposed time out?
So I did a little research and the word "mercy" shows up 276 times in the KJV. Most of those refer to the act of mercy shown by God. Some refer to the mercy seat (made of gold and sitting atop the ark of the covenant) -- which I find just as applicable....I mean, isn't a time out chair/corner a sort of parental version of the mercy seat?
The point being --- God places a high value on mercy.
noun, plural -cies for 4, 5.
compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner.
the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.
the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened
I think that in order to receive mercy, we must be repentant and genuinely sorry. Think about a police officer who lets you go with just a warning. The offender's attitude was more than likely the cause of whether Mr. Policeman gives you a warning and a smile, or a ticket and a smirk. Not that I would know anything about that.
So it is with our children. And with us. In order to receive mercy, we must come to Jesus (or mom and dad) with a repentant heart and a genuine desire to make it right. To do better next time. No sense of entitlement....just a grateful heart -- because we deserve punishment, and yet the mercy-giver sees something in the mercy-seeker and chooses to extend it....again. And if not, we just have to deal with the punishment and learn from it. It's up to us and the state of our hearts.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." The LORD is good to those who wait for him, fto the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:22-25