Mercy

Sorry for the hiatus.  It’s been another crazy couple of weeks.  I continue to have a love-hate relationship with my technology.  My office manager is about to leave on maternity.  There are some transitions coming with our church family (new additions to the staff.  Very exciting!).  So, it’s just been an overall crazy couple of weeks.  Oh, and tomorrow is the last day of my summer Spanish class.

I know that I’ve mentioned taking this class on the blog at the beginning of the summer.  It has been pretty amazing and so much more than a simple language course.  The professor is agnostic, yet he loves to talk about religion, faith, culture, and how these are affected by current events.  Of course, if anyone gets too “religious-y,” he tends to shut the conversation down and go back to Spanish.  Still, considering the diverse group of individuals in this class (coming from Algeria, India, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey, Thailand, Cambodia, as well as different backgrounds here in the US), it’s interesting to hear all the different perspectives.

In the most recent class, the conversation turned towards the meaning of evil and anger towards evil.  They listed off all the usual suspects like Hitler or the 9/11 terrorists as just plain evil people.  It got interesting when we started talking about mothers who killed their children due to extreme post-partum depression, whether they should be considered evil or just mentally ill.

I was very quiet, listening to all the comments made.  I didn’t realize that my thoughts were showing through on my face though.  In the middle of the discussion, a woman turned to look at me and said, “Katy, you look so sad.”  I shared that I felt that I couldn’t personally justify labeling someone evil, just writing them off as unredeemable.  I think choices can be evil, but for all the sacrifice that Christ made, I just can’t fathom that people are completely unredeemable.  Because that could very well mean that I could be unredeemable.

No, I haven’t killed anyone or made some terroristic action against my country.  But I have manipulated and hurt people before, and never asked them to forgive me, or even had the chance to ask.  I have selfishly indulged in the love, forgiveness, and salvation of God, knowing its relief and yet didn’t share it with others who were searching.  I have created the gap between God and myself with my sin, without having a way to repair it on my own, depending on the grace of God to find forgiveness and redemption.

The Bible shows me that I’m not alone.  Paul, as Saul, imprisoned men and women.  David was an adulterous murderer.  Rachel was a manipulative liar.  Jonah wanted to commit genocide.  Moses was a murderer and had anger issues.  The stories in the Bible are not of saints, but of imperfect people, people that could have easily been labeled evil before God’s redemption.

I think something this world desperately needs is an extension of mercy and grace.  One guy in my class said that God doles out mercy and grace and man doles out justice.  But my question is how will others understand that grace if we don’t first give it ourselves?

I’m, of course, not perfect in this wisdom.  I still judge people without mercy and grace.  I write off people as ones that can’t or won’t change, forgetting the stories of the Bible that say different.  I’m hoping to continue working on this because I honestly believe that if people started experiencing the grace of God through us, that we can change the world.  And what better way can we love others, but in the way that God has loved us?

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