God has such a way of showing me when I am being judgmental - even if the person really has done something that hurt someone. Over the years He has worked on me enough that when I find myself upset by someone's behavior I am able to be redirected and remind myself that I have no idea where that person's heart is. I don't know their story and besides, I'm far from perfect. Yesterday, I looked at how God expects us to be merciful toward others as a reaction to the mercy we were so freely given. Today, I want to look again at how important this is to God; please look up Hosea 6:6.
Sacrifice and offerings were a part of the law that God spoke to Moses and everyone participated in it. Sacrifices and offerings were a part of all the celebrations, holidays, and observances. This was part of being an Israelite. The problem was, the Israelites began to depend only on sacrifice and offerings as their justification and didn't exercise mercy and justice towards one another. Think about how that had to sound to God's heart, "Please accept my offering and forgive me, but I don't think I need to forgive him over there." God desires mercy from us more than rituals and rites of passage. Please look up Matthew 9:9-13.
After hearing the Pharisees judge the "sinners" and wonder why Jesus would sit with them he explains that He came to Earth for the purpose of reaching the "sinners." What He says next probably infuriated the Pharisees because He used a text that was familiar to them, "Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy not sacrifice.'" Jesus wanted them to understand that God was all about mercy. He wants to show us mercy and He wants us to be merciful.
Could you imagine stepping into a church and feeling nothing but judgement? Think about it! Isn't that what the church is for? Aren't we supposed to be bringing people to Jesus? How can we bring people to Christ if all they experience is judgement? What brought you to Christ: judgement or mercy?
How can we as a church show more mercy to those that need Christ?