Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker's blog for the Five Minute Friday yet again.
I can never remember the difference between mercy and grace, or should I say, I get them mixed up. I've always heard that mercy is not receiving punishment that you deserve and grace is being given something that you don't deserve. I think.
Yeah, I kind of know the "dictionary" definition, but when it comes to living it out... oh boy. Sometimes when someone hurts me I withhold from them. I draw back and say, "I'm not ready to let this thing go yet. You should suffer just a little bit longer for what you did." But really I'm not hurting them at all, just myself.
Imagine if Jesus had done that, drawn back within himself when the cross was getting close and said, "I'm not ready for this yet, they need to sit down here in pain and agony for a little while longer for what they've done."
It doesn't work that way for Jesus, and as Christians it shouldn't work that way for us, but too often it does. In my own life I can see that withholding mercy and grace stem from my own pride and selfishness, very human characteristics, that I receive mercy for when I repent of them. It seems like a very circular thing. If I withhold mercy or grace, I won't be receptive to receive it myself, and then I feel miserable and become bitter and hard-hearted.
Sometimes I just wonder why God puts up with us, we just end up messing up, and a lot of the time it is in relationships that we mess up. Then I remember this is why Jesus died. To redeem and renew those relationships. To give us hope that we can grow to become like Jesus, full of mercy and grace. He is not a hard task-master, He is a loving and merciful God who wants us to choose Him and love His ways.
Now time for some coffee.