You Don’t Want To Burn that Bridge…

He who demands mercy and shows none burns the bridges over which he himself must later pass. -Thomas Adams

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. MT 5.7

Are you merciful? Is that who you are? Of all people on the face of the earth, we who believe in Jesus should be the most merciful. The quickest to forgive. The most forbearing with other’s sins against us. Why? Because we have received such incredible mercy from God ourselves. Each of us has sinned horrifically and repeatedly against the Holy One who will tolerate no sin in his presence. Yet he so loved us he sent his Son to become the lightning rod for the wrath we deserved. To have it strike him instead of us. Jesus got what we deserve and we received what we never deserved – Mercy. If we appreciate the mercy we’ve received, we should be quick to pour it out. And pour it out on those who don’t deserve it.

We should pour out mercy on those who sin against us. Those who hurt us. Who misunderstand us and can’t see our point. Those who insist that they are right and we are wrong. Those who don’t realize they are sinning. We should quote Jesus regularly: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” They don’t realize their sin. They don’t see their pride and stubbornness. They don’t know how much they are hurting me. Or maybe they do, but Father, have mercy on them as you have had mercy on me. And help me to have mercy on them. As John Piper says, we should:

“Be stunned that you are a beneficiary of mercy – be reminded and stunned that you and I deserve nothing but wrath from God, and in Christ receive nothing but mercy from him. Be stunned. And then pray that God would make you merciful to the undeserving.Oh, how sweet marriages would be if we stopped thinking about what we deserve and thought more about how to show more mercy – how to do more undeserved good to each other. Oh, how sweet would be the fellowship of the church if we all really felt undeserving of any good and lavished with God’s mercy. And, oh, how bright the gospel would shine if we touched the poor with Christ-exalting mercy. May God raise up many who will build, with joy, ministries of mercy to the city and the nations.”

Are you stunned by the mercy you’ve received from God? Do you reflect regularly on the mercy you’ve received? Are you a merciful person – is that who you are? Not just something you do, but something you are? Who do you most struggle to feel merciful toward? Pray for that person. Affirm that you forgive them, whether they have asked your forgiveness or not. Ask God to bless them. You and I are not yet perfect. We will need mercy in the future. We don’t want to burn bridges we’ll need to pass over later. Lord Jesus, make us merciful, as you are merciful.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.