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Saturday, February 19, 2011

On Mercy: Part 1 of 3

Mercy in Anger

A suit on his bluetooth cuts me off in traffic. 
A political analyst makes inflammatory comments- for the Other Side. 
My kids use naptime to empty their dresser drawers onto the floor. 
I have a characteristic response to this type of scenario.  And it is not mercy.

Habakkuk lived amidst some serious irritants as well.  Judah was facing external threats from the Chaldeans, as well as internal turmoil owing to the evil ways of King Jehoiakim and the loosing of Israel’s moral footing.  And in Habakkuk’s day, God was angry.  But Habakkuk wasn’t!  Sometimes I think that God must despise that self-righteous political analyst just as much as I do, and I eagerly anticipate the second coming, so God can come and put him in his place.  I stew over these small offenses against me; Habakkuk anticipated God’s righteous anger because the sins he witnessed were a slap in the face of the Creator.  And still he cried for mercy.

In the end, I’m really glad that no cosmic lightning strike zaps the obnoxious driver or the sneering pundit.  Because I’m pretty sure that my very indignation would earn a good zap, too.  God may bring me through fire and punishment, as he did Israel, or just through a humbling day in traffic.  Maybe in the end, the Israelites and I all have a better picture of the gravity of sin and our powerlessness over it.  And then, when we seek Him with all our hearts, He will delight to show mercy.  He will not “abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers” (Dt. 4: 31).  Hopefully, in my anger, I’ll remember to extend the same.

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