In the 5th grade, I made a really bad grade on a test that I had not studied for. I had to take it home to have my father sign it. Being afraid of the consequences I would have to suffer from not doing well on the test, I forged my dad’s signature.
The next day, my teacher having recognized what was clearly a forgery, sent me to the principle’s office. I had to call my father and tell him what I had done. I knew I was in big trouble!
Later that afternoon, after spending the remainder of the day worrying about my impending punishment, my father picked me up from school and took me to an ice cream shop for a treat.
Now, on any other day, this would have been quite fun. However, knowing what I had done and how disappointed my dad was in me, I could not enjoy this outing.
While tears rolled down my cheeks and splashed into my bowl of pistachio ice cream, I sat at the table in the small shop and waited for what was sure to be some type of horrific punishment.
I certainly deserved a spanking or perhaps being grounded from television, but I did not receive either of those that day. Instead, I received a few treasured moments about how God’s mercy is great enough to forgive us even when we are least deserving of it.
My father taught me far more that day than just lessons on honesty. He taught me about mercy.
One of my favorite examples of Christ’s mercy is told in Luke 7:36-50. A woman, whose name is never told, came to see Jesus at the home of Simon, where Jesus had been invited to dinner.
She was a sinner woman perceived by Simon as not worthy of Jesus’ forgiveness or even worthy enough to be in His presence.
I can imagine Simon’s critical thinking, as I have often been quick to judge others at times.
Upon arriving at Simon’s home, the sinful woman kneeled at Jesus’ feet, washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Lastly, she poured expensive perfume on them.
All of the actions made by this sinful woman were custom in that day. However, because Simon perceived her sins to be so bad, he was appalled that Jesus would allow this trashy woman to behave in this way and even said so to Jesus.
Jesus was quick to correct Simon in his thinking. Jesus was also quick to forgive this sinful woman by showing her great mercy inspite of her sins. The sinful woman was so broken from her wicked life that all she could do was weep. Can you imagine her joy after Jesus had shown her such compassion and love?
I am like that sinful woman. We are all like her. We are sinners. We are broken. We are in need of Jesus’ mercy. While my sins may be different from yours, we are still just sinners. I can do nothing to earn forgiveness.
Christ’s mercy cannot be bought or earned. It was paid for when He died on the cross. All we have to do is ask for it.
My earthly father was not hesitant in showing me mercy on that day of 5th grade, when I so did not deserve it. My Heavenly Father is never hesitant in showing me mercy by forgiving me of my sins.
Just like Christ is quick to forgive each of us, we can show that same mercy to others by being a vessel of forgiveness.
May you know the peace that comes from His mercy this week and be steadfast in showing it to others.