Extending Mercy Has a Cost

Bill Bright

“When you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” (Mark 11:25).

A middle-aged man sat in the pastor's office, nervously wiping perspiration from his brow with the back of his hand. "There is absolutely no way I can tell this to my wife," he said. "She would be devastated. She would never forgive me. I just cannot tell her. But I want forgiveness. I need relief from all this guilt."

In this family's case, the wife's career had soared with success, while the husband's work had plateaued. She traveled on extended business trips, gaining all kinds of recognition and earning a big salary. Meanwhile, the husband was at home keeping the family fed and attending to household chores. In a weak moment when loneliness drove his attention elsewhere, his wife's best friend began to meet his sexual and emotional needs.

After counseling with the pastor, the husband went home and confessed his sin to his wife. He told her exactly what had happened and why. He admitted he was very wrong and assured her that his adulterous relationship with her friend was over. Much to his surprise, she forgave him, and they started all over again. This act of mercy came at no small cost to the betrayed wife, but it led to the restoration of the relationship.

God will reward us when we show mercy. One of mercy's rewards is the intimacy we enjoy in our human relationships. Another reward is the intimacy we experience in our relationship with our Lord. Since mercy is of the highest priority to God, when we are merciful, we become instruments of blessing and enjoy communication with God.

Your View of God Really Matters ...

Do you feel unfulfilled in your Christian walk? Make sure you are not harboring unforgiveness or bitterness in your heart toward someone. It will rob you of joy. If you struggle to forgive others, make a list of everything for which God has forgiven you. It is often easier to forgive others when we feel how much we have been forgiven. Today, let God's mercy flow through you to others. In the process, you will be set free!

Because God is merciful,
He forgives me of my sins when I sincerely confess them.

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