I continue to celebrate God’s mercy and how I’m learning to receive and give it. Here’s a journal entry from a number of years ago which was later published. The day shines clear in my memory–another one of those worst days/best days.
Since then God has convinced my soul that Lamentations 3:22 is true:
It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. AMP
Journal entry: February 25, 2003
Lord, I praise You for breaking me on this drive to Bradenton. I have stopped to write this in the rest area just before the Sunshine Skyway bridge. I feel I have become a different person since I left home.
Not long ago Pastor Marty said, “Breakthroughs come through brokenness.” Oh, how I’m broken over how I am not like You–especially in showing mercy.
I’ve been thinking about Tami. I didn’t show her mercy when she told me about the date rape that happened while she was away at college. My “I told you so” and “if you had listened to me about recklessly hooking up with guys on the Internet,” attitude was not compassionate.
Today my thoughts are centered on, what would Jesus have done? Jesus would have held Tami. He would have let her cry on His shoulder. He would never have said “I told you so.” That’s not what mercy says.
Romans 5:8 says,
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I wanted Tami to repent before I comforted her. But even while I was a sinner, Christ died for me; He showed me mercy.
Jesus didn’t say to the woman caught in adultery, “This is your fault,” or “Why did you allow yourself to get caught up in this sin?”
Tami has been hurting because she is so hungry for love. That’s why she makes bad choices. I added to her pain. Was it my lack of mercy that caused her to have suicidal thoughts? It certainly contributed to her despair.
Oh Lord, I so messed up with Tami. What do I do?
Receive My mercy for yourself.
Lord, I long to do it all over with Tami. She waited a year to tell me—her own mother– because she feared my rejection. And then I rejected her. Lord, I reacted like a Pharisee, not like Jesus.
You show Tami little mercy because you are not receiving it for yourself.
My father seldom modeled mercy. (He probably experienced the same growing up.) The church I attended as a child taught You were an unmerciful God.
Lord, today I feel flooded with Your mercy. It is wonderful. Thank You. Your mercy covers my failings as a mother. Help me to show the love of Christ. Help me to stop acting like a Pharisee.
Is this breakthrough coming because I am driving Tami’s car today? I feel so close to her. I feel such compassion for her. Her recent struggle with suicidal thoughts is on my mind today because of my sitting here getting ready to drive over the Sunshine Skyway—the bridge some people jump from when they want to kill themselves. Thank You for delivering Tami from suicidal thoughts.
Restore her. Restore me.
Revive her. Revive me. Only You can.
Thank You for this great work You’re doing in my heart. Please continue to break me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Days later the Lord allowed me to have a second chance with Tami. As we sat together in the kitchen I said, “I want to redo my response to you when you told me about the date rape. Pretend you have just told me.”
She cried as I held her. I cried too. God’s mercy flowed—as freely as our tears—to both of us.
What about you? Is there someone that you have an “I told you so” hardness toward rather than a soft merciful heart? Perhaps you need God’s mercy, so you can pass it along to others. Go to Him. Never forget: He delights to show mercy. (See Micah 7:18)