Mercy contains the power to heal. When God sent Jesus to die in our place on the cross, He showed us mercy. When we accept God’s gracious offer of salvation, we give Jesus our sins, and He gives us a clean slate. He wipes away our sins: past, present and even those we have yet to commit. His kindness and ability to forgive is so thorough that He doesn’t hold anything back. The blood of Christ extends grace towards us so thoroughly that we have been granted forgiveness in advance. This is God’s perfect, unconditional love towards all of mankind. All we need to do is to accept the good news by faith, believing that Jesus really did take our sin upon Himself and that His holy sacrifice is sufficient to cleanse us of all unrighteousness and restore the relationship that was once broken between us and our heavenly Father.
The blood of Jesus is absolutely comprehensive and altogether effective at reconciling broken relationships! The good news is, there is so much more that we have been given in addition to mercy for our sins. We have been blessed with eternal life. When we draw our final breath, we are immediately ushered into the presence of the just judge of heaven and earth; yet, those who have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus and their Father need not fear for they have been rescued from the fires of hell, spared from eternal damnation. Mercy triumphs over judgment as we are welcomed into His presence, comforted by His overwhelming, perfect love.
Jesus taught us to pray that God’s will would be done ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’ He also empowered us to walk in mercy and forgiveness towards others, overcoming the momentary personal pain or injustices that we may experience while we live out our time on earth. Jesus did not just take our sins; He empowered us with His mantle of forgiveness so that we would be agents of healing, reconciling relationships, and extending the olive branch of peace towards others.
“You now have the mantle of God’s forgiveness. As you go, you are able to share the life-giving power to forgive sins or withhold forgiveness.” (John 20:23 The VOICE).
The reality for many people is that they live in offense instead of releasing forgiveness. Families and relationships, including relationships between individuals and God, are broken because of pride. We think we have the right to stay offended by God or others, yet we have been bought with a price. Our lives are not our own. God has given us a mantle that enables and empowers us to truly, genuinely forgive others so sincerely that no residue of offense remains.
Do you remember a time when you cried out to God and prayed a prayer like this?
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” (Ps. 51:1-2)
He listened. He drew near when He heard your cry, because God does not disregard the broken and contrite heart. He sent His answer.
“Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” (Eph. 2:4-5)
That is why we can say,
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Psalm 103:8) and,
“Who is a God like You, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” (Micah 7:18)
If God kept a record of our wrongs, who could stand?
We live in a world where people are at war with one another for ridiculous reasons. Satan has effectively led multitudes of people to pick up an offense and be willing to cause riots simply because they are not in the same political party, of the same sexual orientation, or have a difference of opinion. The enemy of our soul has stirred up hatred, intolerance, anger, and offense so that people partner with him as accusers towards others. This is the result of pride and offenses that have not been healed. If there were nothing to exploit, the enemy would not have a foothold in so many lives, but that foothold allows him to use people as his pawns and puppets. The enemy loves to exploit pride because pride causes strife, (Proverbs 13:10). Peace cannot rule where pride and strife exist. What madness is this, and why have so many people become willing participants to perpetuate offense? Some people seem to thrive on it, and worse yet, some have sunk to the level of benefiting from causing pain, offense or physical harm to others. These things are destroying lives, families, and cities. THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE! Engaging in petty, self-debased behaviors causes people to be covered in shame. I pray that as a nation of people we recover our senses, remember who we are, and in whose image we are created. Far too many people have picked up the mantle of accusation rather than the mantle of forgiveness, but it starts with us.
“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray…”
“You are mantled with the mantle of forgiveness.”
The way to walk in total forgiveness is not by keeping a record of wrongs, gossiping to others about offenses, hoping to gain an ally; nor by entertaining suspicion, meditating on anger, hurt feelings or rehearsing what we feel is unjust. When we pray for others, we bring them before God. We enter His courts in the heavenly realm. However, if people allow negative emotions to direct their prayers, then it is quite possible that they may have allowed Satan to lead them into the place where they partner with him as an accuser rather than an intercessor. We do not want to be caught standing before God in His courtroom, standing on the side of the accuser! That sort of thing will cause people to incur God's judgment on their own unrighteous actions!
“And turn from their wicked ways…”
Let us instead be mindful of the enemy’s tactics and humble ourselves before God. Pray unselfish prayers for the best interests of those that have caused the pain, so that your only motive is love. The only way out of the trap of offense is through humility. It is not praying what we want to transpire; because that would have a selfish motive at the heart of our prayers. No, it is about praying what is sincerely best for others regardless of whether or not our desires are met. It is about praying the Father’s heart for other individuals; that they would be free, healed, restored and blessed in every way that GOD wants to bless them. It is the unselfish prayer that God answers. Prayers birthed out of unconditional love are the prayers that change lives and alter destinies. They reconcile relationships, but most importantly, they release us from the bondage of bitterness. A person cannot remain in bitterness when they are truly praying God’s heart for someone else. Injustice shuts its mouth when God’s people pray unselfish prayers from a humble heart.
“Then I will hear from heaven and heal your land…”
Thanksgiving is a time when families come together to share a meal with one another. I urge you, be gracious. Be kind. Sincerely make the choice to forgive others and completely erase the record of wrongs.
“Be kind and compassionate toward one another, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Eph. 4:32)
You have the mantle of forgiveness that empowers you to be free and to set others free through the demonstration of mercy, kindness, and forgiveness. True forgiveness holds no record of wrongs. It wipes the slate clean. This Thanksgiving, let mercy triumph. May your homes be filled with an abundance of peace and joy, causing your heart to overflow with gratitude at what Christ has done to reconcile, heal and restore what was broken. What begins in our homes will have a ripple effect into our cities. Forgiveness will put out the fires of the enemy. Love will spark fires of revival. Your kingdom come, Lord. On earth, as it is in heaven!
Help me to let go of any offenses I have held on to. Give me grace to forgive fully and completely. Help me to pray unselfish prayers that represent Your heart and Your will towards others. Bless me with compassion for those that I have been offended with, so that I can sense Your heart for them, and pray the sort of prayers that will release healing for both of us. I yield my heart to You. Please take out any anger, hurt or desire for retribution. I trust you to do what You know is best. Please let my heart be set free and filled with gratitude and love. In Jesus name, amen.