Love and Mercy

love godThen Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matt 9:35-38, NIV)

“The chesed (mercy) of God is a gratuitous mercy that considers no fitness, no worthiness and no return. It is the way the Lord looks upon the guilty and with His look makes them at once innocent. This look seems to some to be angry because they fly from it. But if they face it, they see that it is love and that they are innocent. (Their flight and their confusion of their own fear make them guilty in their own eyes.) The chesed of God is truth. It is infallible strength. It is the love by which He seeks and chooses his chosen, and binds them to Himself. It is the love by which He is married to mankind, so that, if humanity is faithless to Him, it must still always have fidelity to which to return: that is His own fidelity. He has become inseparable from man in the chesed which we call “Incarnation,” and “Cross” and “Resurrection.” He has also given us His chesed in the Person of His Spirit. The Paraclete is the full, inexpressible mystery of chesed. So that in the depths of our own being there is an inexhaustible spring of mercy and love. Our own being has become love. Our own self has become God’s love for us, and it is full of Christ, of chesed. But we must face and accept ourselves and others as chesed. We must be to ourselves and to others signs and sacraments of mercy.” — Thomas Merton, Seasons Of Celebration.

When Jesus looked at the crowd, he didn’t judge them; he didn’t racially profile, or divide up the rich and poor, he had compassion for everyone because everyone’s harassed and helpless. It may surprise many that the harvest isn’t about filling your church, but about telling everyone about the unconditional love of God.

So why are some Christians so judgmental and condemning?  Perhaps they were never shown unconditional love and mercy by those around them and find it hard to receive and dispense God’s love. We need to fill ourselves with all that God has and then give it out with the same measure.

About Terry Threadwell

Dr. Terry Threadwell has thirty five years ministry experience. Author, educator and Director of the Institute of Progressive Pentecostal Studies.
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