2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, for in your sight shall no one living be justified.
The Motivation of Mercy
It’s human nature to try and justify our actions. We take offense if someone challenges our way, and we try to defend our actions or way of thinking. That may work with others on some level, but the problem is it never works with God. He alone is judge over all the world, and He alone knows the intentions of the human heart. We all stand before God with no justification for our sinful ways or desires, unless of course we place ourselves in the hands of the one who is justified – Jesus Christ.
The good news for everyone is that Jesus, as St. John calls him, is an Advocate for all who will come to Him; there is no other hope for humanity. It is in His advocacy that we find mercy. We don’t receive what we deserve because He received our chastisement on the cross (Isa. 53: 5). But such mercy is often misunderstood. We must look behind the mercy to see the motivation of God.
When we read the Psalms we often hear a spirit of woe. Life was hard, and the psalmist, as one who strived for righteousness had many enemies. However, no matter the affliction, the Psalmist always turned to God for help. God was his refuge and strength (Ps. 141:8). In the Old Testament we see through shadows what Jesus shows us clearly in the New, that God is our loving Father. The motivation for God’s mercy is not because of the justice He owes to Jesus, the perfect one, but it is borne of His love. The Father loves His Children.
When we pray what is perhaps the most ancient prayer, “Lord have mercy”, we are calling on our loving, Heavenly Father to remember his love for us. “Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.” (Ps. 25:6). It is out of that love, the steadfast love of the Lord that never changes, we find His mercy, and we find it new every morning because He is faithful (Lam 3:22-23).
Do you need mercy today? Have you been justifying your actions or thoughts rather than confessing them? We all do from time to time. That’s just another great reason why the Church calls us to observe Lent, so that we may repent and be healed, healed by the mercies of God.
Tomorrow marks one week before Good Friday. Today marks one week before Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. The end of our Lenten journey is drawing near. Let’s let mercy reign in our thoughts and hearts as we prepare to enter Jerusalem with Jesus this Palm Sunday, as we prepare to walk through Holy Week with Him, experiencing his great mercy and love… a love that raises us from the ashes.
Grace & Peace for a Holy Lent,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”