And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Three or four years ago, I asked the Lord where we would live in the future, and I heard ‘Merced’. I know that the Lord often speaks to me in ‘dark speech’, parables or symbolic language and sometimes plainly. In this instance, I looked up what ‘Merced’ means and it means mercy.
I want to tell a story from my recent life that illustrates ‘living in mercy’. This story also links generosity with forgiveness, not judging nor condemning and living in a mercy life. This passage in Luke 6, of Jesus words is an illustration of living in mercy and I would say that, ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is also merciful’, is the key point here that everything else illustrates.
My story is that I have an old friend who took something from me, last year. He told me, “I took it”, and I was surprised he took it and a little offended that he took it, but glad he told me, sort of. I told him that the item actually belonged to someone else.
It was like I left a plate of cookies out for someone in particular and before they got there another person happened by and took them: a plastic container with baked delights inside. The next day, my friend said, “Those cookies you left out were good!” And I said, “Those weren’t for you, but I was leaving them out for someone else!” Then I said, “Please give me the plastic tray back”, and they said “OK”, but they never gave it back.
And in a little bit of time, I forgave him and released him from any judgement and laughed about it. I laughed at myself for making a fuss about it. I began to live in a mercy place towards my friend.
Fast forward to this week. I was struggling all week, with a problem I was trying to solve. I was doing something to solve my problem and that same friend dropped by.
We had a re-do of what happened last year, except this time, the ‘cookies’ had just come out of the oven. He boldly said, “Can I have those?” I said, “Yes”, and coordinated with him where to leave the ‘plate of cookies’ when they were ready, because he had to go run some errands. I saw later, that he had picked up the plate.
Later that day, in the evening, another situation presented itself where another friend of mine needed a favor actually for him and two of his friends, that I could do for them, only if I freely wanted to, but it would take some valuable time for me to do it. I got a nudge that this would be a generous thing to do, and I did it. He was very grateful, and thankfully received the gift.
That problem that I was working on earlier in the day was not solved, and I was disappointed and vexed, but was persevering and planning out my next step, the next thing to try. After the encounter with my second friend, I tested my problem again, and it had gone away. And that is when I put this whole picture together.
This particular problem could come back although I hope is does not. But I can pretty much count on the fact that I will have other problems. Sometimes life seems like one problem after another. Every problem is an opportunity to grow in our relationships with God.
When life gives us a negative, God always gives us a positive, like a compensation. Every problem or challenge has a gift, a grace package attached to it. We sometimes do not receive it, see it or open it; and instead, wallow in the negative, playing the victim, judging others and even judging God.
Living in mercy is a life of generosity. And there is a principle that when we are generous, more comes back to us. It is a matter of the heart and a merciful hearted person is a lender to those who can not repay, a lover of their enemies, who treats them well; and someone who does not at all live, ‘tit for tat’. Merciful people live in the heart of Father who is merciful and kind.
I want to share with you how Brian Simmons translates this passage:
“If you lend money only to those you know will repay you, what credit is that to your character? Even those who don’t know God do that. But love your enemies and continue to treat them well. When you lend money, don’t despair if you are never paid back, for it is not lost. You will receive a rich reward and you as true children of the Most High God, having his same nature. For your Father is famous for his kindness to heal even the thankless and cruel. Show mercy and compassion for others, just as your heavenly Father overflows with mercy and compassion for all.”
Jesus said, “Forsake the habit of judging and criticizing others, and then you will not be criticized and judged in return. Don’t look at others and pronounce them guilty, and you will not experience guilty accusations yourself. Forgive over and over and you will be forgiven over and over. Give generously and generous gifts will be given back to you, shaken down to make room for more. Abundant gifts will pour out upon you with such an overflowing measure that it will run over the top! Your measurement of generosity becomes the measurement of your return.” -Luke 6:34-38 (TPT)
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