God is merciful, and if we want to please Him, then we must be too.  And I guarantee you that there are enough “jerks” sprinkled among us, that being merciful isn’t always easy to do.  Yet I think of how we treat the LORD many times, and I’m amazed He hasn’t made crispy critters out of most of us.  God nearly destroyed all of mankind back in the flood, and only Noah and his family were spared.  Here we are thousands of years later, and I’m wondering how God can put up with us even another day.  It isn’t going to be pretty when He decides to deal with mankind’s evil.

God is love, and how it must hurt His heart to see mankind acting like the devil.  And it has to hurt the LORD’S heart to see even those who SAY they are his, treating each other with far less love than we should be doing.  It is written in Colossians 3:12-13,

 12  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

 13  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 

            I can’t find anywhere in God’s word that says loving others would always be easy; maybe I missed that part. But yet, we’re all real quick to ask for grace for OUR sins, I have to ask myself, how often do I ask for grace to forgive those who wrong ME?  After all, most of us have prayed the “Lord’s Prayer”, which includes the part that says, “Forgive our debts even as we forgive our debtors.”  In plain English, that says, “LORD, I want you to forgive ME in the same amount and to the same degree that I forgive others who do me wrong.”

WHOA!  I DIDN’T SAY THAT!!  Well yes you did, if you’ve ever prayed the Lord’s Prayer!  Think about that for a moment; do you really want to be forgiven for your sins, judged on how you forgive others?  Like it or not, that’s EXACTLY how YOUR sins will be forgiven.  It is also written in Luke 6:27-38,

 27  But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

 28  Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

 29  And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.

 30  Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

 31  And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

 32  For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

 33  And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

 34  And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

 35  But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

 36  Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

 37  Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

 38  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

            Do you want to be like your heavenly Father?  Then be quick to forgive, having enduring mercy and grace toward all, because that’s how HE is.  Just as a child watches and imitates their father, we should watch and imitate our heavenly Father, and you know it is said, imitation is the greatest form of flattery.  Do I always feel like forgiving? Sometimes I’d rather smack them upside the head a good one, but the Holy Spirit always reminds me, “Be like your heavenly Father”.  And I’m reminded that I want MY sins forgiven, because I’m not perfect either.

Over the years my motivation for being forgiving and not holding anger has changed.  At first, it was fear of going to hell that made me quick to forgive.  Then later, as I grew to know the LORD, my motivation for being quick to forgive was, I didn’t want to hurt the LORD’S heart by being ungrateful for HIS mercy.  You see, HIS grace toward me is enduring, even when I’m not acting as He would in the same situation, and to this day, I can’t understand how God can be so perpetually merciful.  Just look at how most of the world is acting ugly toward one another, and think how much grief we must be causing each other and the LORD especially.

Yes, one day, He will say ENOUGH, and He will send the Lord Jesus back to straighten out the mess we’ve made of things.  And for those who repent, well.  And for those who don’t, well, I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes.  His love requires Him to put an end to sin, once and for all.  He provided for your forgiveness as well as mine, in Christ Jesus.  And “whosoever will” may receive a full pardon for their sins, however hideous those sins may be.  But those “forgiven” are required to “forgive”, don’t forget that for a moment.  I’m reminded of what Jesus taught in Matthew 18:21-35,

21  Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

 22  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

 23  Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

 24  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 

 25  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

 26  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 

 27  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

 28  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 

 29  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

 30  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

 31  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

 32  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

 33  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

 34  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

 35  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

            Let me remind you of the tender mercies of the LORD, but let me also remind you, He expects us to put away our claws and crappy attitudes and become merciful, even as HE is merciful.  I’ve had people ask me, “How come you let people treat you like that?”  It isn’t always easy, but it’s because I have “inside information”.  Actually, being merciful to others gives you joy inside, try it, you’ll like it.  And you’ll make your heavenly Father smile, and we’d all like to do that, right?  He will be looking at you and saying to Jesus, Look there, Son, there’s another one acting just like US!  And the angels in heaven rejoice with Him!  BE MERCIFUL!