1 Thessalonians 5:10-12 (ESV)
10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you.
A few years ago a tragic accident happened on the back roads of a little town. A Christian man, a humble servant of the Lord, a sweet husband to his devoted wife, and a terrific dad to a couple of dynamic tweens, was hit head-on by a drunk driver. He died on impact.
The drunk survived the ordeal and was facing heavy criminal charges. Public opinion was that this guy should rot in prison. No mercy for such an offence!
The mourning family, however, was not a normal, every-day typically common kind of family. They were close to one another through an invincible bound called divine love. They got together and pondered out loud: What would Jesus do in our circumstances?
One thing they knew for certain was that their Master would not linger in self-pity and unforgiveness. They were convinced they had to reach out somehow to the guilty drunkard. Early one morning, the son and daughter of the victimized dad went down to the prison to visit the drunk. To the utter amazement of the guards, although both son and daughter were deep in grief, they hugged the man and forgave him for his actions.
The surprised criminal couldn't stop his emotions from overcoming him. He crumbled to his knees and started to cry. Instead of a fist in his face, which is what he expected and knew he deserved, he received mercy. He received love instead of utter contempt. He received divine grace instead of condemnation.
Surprisingly, both the son and daughter visited that prisoner regularly. They had truly forgiven the one who had killed their dad.
One of God's greatest desires is that we show mercy towards one another. Although important, sacrifices, offerings and going to church are inconsequential if mercy is not part of our lives.
How would I react if this true episode had happened to me? How would I face the one who murdered my mom, my wife or my son? Who would I glorify?
Dear Lord, we pray that our reaction to things would be in line with what You would have for us. Help our actions bring honor to You. In The Name of Jesus, Amen.