This has been a tough week for me. I’ve been trying to grasp and write about mercy but it’s been alluding me. Twice I’ve had to abandon my first attempt at a Catch because it didn’t get by my first critic — my wife — sending me writing well into the afternoon, which I can’t afford the time to do. I think I may have to admit I’m far more of a Pharisee than I thought. My book 12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me) comes to mind. We had to add “like me” to the title to announce a personal connection with this struggle. Once a drunk, always a drunk, they say, you just stop drinking. So, once a Pharisee, always a Pharisee, you just stop judging and separating yourself from sinners.
Here’s what I’m forcing myself to take a hard look at: If I don’t understand mercy, it must be because deep down I don’t think I really need it. If I have successfully shielded myself from facing the sin in my life, then mercy isn’t going to mean much to me. Mercy for what? Oh, I get the concept and I understand how it works, it just doesn’t apply to me. There’s no real connection.
Part of admitting your sin is joining sinners and those are people I’ve been trying to avoid my whole life. Sinners are “them,” I’ve been told, and I believed it. I understand my sinfulness intellectually and theologically, but not internally, the way David did when he wrote, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak” (Psalms 51:3,4).
And blameless when You judge.
If you’re not desperate in your sin, mercy is just a nice concept — something for Brian Wilson to wish on everybody at the end of a concert. Mercy is either a concept or a lifeline depending on how you see yourself. And if it’s a lifeline, you are holding on for dear life, because there is no other hope for you. Mercy isn’t anything until it’s everything.
Thanks to Paul Haugen who has joined John Rouster, Daryl Friesen and Darin Sigler in adding to their monthly contribution as MemberPartners and Paul Shillingford and Rebekah Salgadowho joined us as new MemberPartners in response to Mike High’s $500 Match. Mike is extending his challenge until the end of the month and we are now over halfway there. Only $230 away. Mike will match $500 a month if we can account for $500 in new MemberPartners and/or increased MemberPartner commitments. This is an incredible opportunity to add $1,000 to our sustainable monthly support. Signing up is easy. Click on the MemberPartner button in the right column and record your new or increased amount and check the box for making it monthly. Thank you! Let’s do this!