... is the common definition of mercy and sometimes, of grace, also. That definition, however, fits every dealing of Our LORD towards man. The baptism of the HOLY SPIRIT is the un-merited favor of GOD towards man. Salvation itself is the un-merited favor of GOD towards man.
+ + +
The difference between GRACE and MERCY has always puzzled me.
But recently, The LORD showed me the difference in a personal, peculiar way.
It happened like this.
During a recent trip, I briefly visited a cherished friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in a couple of years. We communicate frequently though and looked forward to this brief visit which I was able to fit into my schedule.
But when I arrived at her house, her welcome was much less than cordial. Her comments were sharp and her tone was abrasive. As a matter of fact, I assured her I had brought my own lunch and she wouldn't have to bother about my food at all!
As it turned out, we met a couple of mutual, old college friends who just happened to arrive in town the same time I did. I thought it was the hand of The LORD!
+ + +
After our pleasant repast together, our mutual friends left and my friend and I shopped for groceries.
As she snatched my grocery list from my hand to "assist" my shopping, we nearly created an argumentative scene in the store . It was an unbelievably distressing situation for me, for it seemed whatever I did angered her.
With great effort, we parted civilly, but my... I had no burning desire to repeat a visit to see her again.
Yes, for weeks afterwards, I pondered what had happened ? I felt like I had stumbled into a hornet's nest. I pondered why those things happened. How was I to relate to this old friend of mine in the future?
Then she called. She called to tell me about a mutual friend being in the hospital. In the course of our conversation she started to cry about the elderly she knew who had died. No, she did not apologize about her behavior during our visit. She did not even think anything she did was wrong. And no, I did not confront her because earlier The LORD had showed me she simply didn't see what she did. In fact, she was totally ignorant of how she carried herself towards me. Worse, she would have been crushed to think I was upset with her or thought what she did was hurtful ! Thus, I set aside any thoughts of an honest confrontation, and tried to minister to her.
And that, dear friends, is GRACE.
GRACE covers us when we do things to hurt the LORD, in our ignorance.
GRACE takes the hurt we blindly dish out to The LORD.
But, if we walk in Truth and daily search our souls to see if we are pleasing unto The LORD, HE+ ... in due season... will show us our sins, our hurtful ways, our abrasive behaviors that do NOT reflect a CHRIST-obeying Christian.
So then, what is MERCY ?
Mercy is what HE+ extends to us after we see how we have acted.
After we REALIZE what we've done,
how badly we have behaved,
how we have ignored CHRIST JESUS and HIS+ Words...
in short, how we have hurt HIM+...
after we hang our hearts in shame,
then HE+ extends MERCY to us,
and we do NOT get
what we rightfully deserve
for hurting someone...
that SOMEONE+ being the ONE+
Who+ died for us miserable sinners.
Can we not imagine the punishment we should incur for hurting someone innocent, who never hurt us? Can we not imagine the punishment we should incur for hurting HIS+ Royal Person?
It is HIS+ Mercy
that stands between us...
and utter destruction.
+ + +
So foolish was I and ignorant; I was as a beast before THEE+. Nevertheless, I am continually with THEE+: THOU+ hast holden me by my right hand. THOU+ shalt guide me with Thy+ Counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Psalm 73: 22-24