Last week, I pointed out in this column that Uncle David appreciated God’s mercy in his life, which made him not to discriminate in his demonstration of it. “Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” he asked. The person presented to him was Mephibosheth, the crippled son of Jonathan. David showered him mercy, even dining with him on the same royal table.

God declares in Rom 9:15 that He has the right to show mercy to who He chooses, but in practice, He extends it to all mankind, the Jews and the gentiles. The vicarious death of the Lord Jesus is for the entire human race, including the most hardened criminal. This is an example for us to follow. Discrimination has ruined many families and organizations.

In a certain club, the preoccupation of the members was the beautiful game they were playing. It was the major attraction to the club. Care, however, was of much essence because the members had to navigate through eggs placed at odd places. A fine of five thousand naira was imposed for breaking any of them. Four of the members, at different periods of time, broke some eggs and they paid the fine. When the fifth man, who was well-connected, broke an egg, the blame shifted to the fellow who kept it. “Had he kept it well,” they argued, “nobody would have broken it”. Imagine! The fine was then imposed on the fellow who kept the egg and not on the person that broke it. It brought bad blood and mistrust, which led to the death of the club.

In another-related case, the club members were to have their board meeting, when a domestic problem caused their chairman to travel. As the vice chairman was leading the meeting, the protocol officer received a call. It was a report that of one of their members, John Dick, who was in the convoy that took their chairman to the airport, told him during a discussion, “Don’t be stupid”. The members were incensed. To them, it was an insult, not only to the chairman, but to all the members. In anger, they decided to suspend him for three months, without even waiting to hear his own side of the story. This is always the fate of the downtrodden.

As their meeting progressed, another call was received. It was an apology, that it was rather Joe Brown, a very-rich member, who said that to the chairman and not John Dick. Arguments started immediately to jump on top of themselves. All his friends, and he had a dozen of them, were asking the acting chairman, whether, “Don’t be stupid”, was an insult or a kind advice so that their chairman would not be trapped in doing any wrong thing. Some argued that in the US and Britain, that it was normal for a child to tell his dad, “Don’t be stupid”, and it is an advice borne out of love and deep concern. Some people wondered why that odd interpretation was not extended to John Dick, when the statement was reported to have been made by him. Seeing that partiality was profusely and glaringly being manifested, some members walked out from the meeting. It led to the end of the club.

Jesus narrated the story of a man, as recorded in Matthew 18:21-35, who could not pay his boss, the king, the millions of Naira he owed him. To recover his money, the king told him that he and his family members would be sold. His ingenuity in pleading with the king to be given respite in paying the debt is amazing. I suspect this prayer warrior to be a pastor. The king accepted his plea and even wrote off the debt. I could imagine him blowing in tongues on his way home, not minding anybody. In that excitement and speaking mysteries, which Heaven alone understands, he met a man owing him a mere trifling. In a huff, he demanded his money from him. The man, as if he was there, when he was pleading before the king, knelt before him, requesting for his mercy and respite in paying him. He refused to accept his plea and rather dragged him to prison until he paid him the debt. Is that not us? How do we treat people who offend us?

The king, in our story, was angry and had him arrested and jailed, when he heard that the man he forgave had dragged his debtor to jail. We are not only to know that God bestows mercy, but it is also for us to be like Him, showing it to other people.

People will be offending us from time to time, and most of the time, our forgiveness is from the mouth. This explains why we recite easily the wrongs done to us by people we have seemingly forgiven. That was why the Lord Jesus said that if we do not forgive from the heart, the fate of the man, who did not extend mercy he had received, to other people, would be our lot.      

The much we do is to name our daughters ‘Mercy’. It is not enough. Some ladies called Mercy are anything but that. May God open our eyes and heart to appreciate His mercy towards us so that we will be extending it to other people. May He lead us, even to cancel some long-outstanding debts people owe us! May nobody ever think that I am saying that mercy is cheap. It is not. We receive it free because someone has paid for it. Yes, mercy saves, but not only God’s own, but ours as well!

Merry Christmas to you!

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