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God, Be Merciful to Me!

Lamentations 3:22-23 says:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I was talking to my discipler from my summer project the other day. I told him how I am continually amazed at God’s mercy more than any of God’s other attributes. What is mercy? Mercy is what you don’t get when you do deserve it. It’s different than grace. Grace is what you do get when you don’t deserve it. In layman’s terms:

Grace gets you in to heaven.

Mercy keeps you out of hell.

That is a very humbling, amazing, mind-blowing thought. How wonderful is thy mercy, O God! I am an unworthy, wretched sinner and all I deserved was to be stillborn. If I died at this moment, God has done me no wrong! God has been putting in on my heart to wake up everyday (at least most mornings) and pray, “Thank you for not killing me in my sleep because that’s what I deserve! I praise you for another day to breathe!”

Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of theHoly Spirit.” God’s mercy saved us from eternal punishment and condemnation! How glorious is God’s mercy on helpless and hopeless sinners.

As I talked to my discipler, he reminded me of a passage in Luke 18 where Jesus tells a story about a Pharisee and a tax collector praying. The Pharisee thanked God that he wasn’t like the other “sinners.” He boasted of his fasting and tithing. The tax collector, however, stood afar and could not lift his eyes to heaven. Beating his chest, he said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” That was all the words he needed and that was all God needed to hear. This man, Jesus said, was justified rather than the Pharisee.

We don’t realize how depraved and gross our sin is. We barely comprehend how much it offends God. I want to grow to hate sin and be immersed in and amazed at God’s mercy every day.

As the old hymn says,

God be merciful to me
On thy grace I rest my plea
Plant us in compassion now
Blot out my transgressions now
Wash me, make me pure within
Cleanse, oh cleanse me from my sin

To that, I sing, “Amen.”