We are never more like God than when rivers of mercy are springing up from within and freely flowing out of our lives, drenching others in the same deep, healing, inexhaustible love and kindness of God that once flooded our lives.
The Journey: Matthew 5:6
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
When a Christian really understands and then begins to organically live as a mercy giver, he or she “practices being God”. Now don’t worry, this is not some new-age theology that I’m promoting; it is simply an apt description for what biblical mercy is, and how biblical mercy acts.
That description, “practices being God”, was first used by Clement of Alexandria, a third century leader in the early church and one of its most notable thinkers. It really is an apt description because to be merciful means to have the same attitude God has toward people, to think as God thinks about people, to feel as God feels for people, and to act as God acts toward people.
In other words, we are never more like God than when rivers of mercy are springing up from within and freely flowing out of our lives, drenching others in the same deep, healing, inexhaustible love and kindness of God that once flooded our lives.
Keep in mind that mercy goes beyond emotional waves of pity and compassion and sorrow for others in their weakness. Rather, mercy means getting right into the skin of another in order to see things through their eyes, think things through their mind, feel things with their feelings—and then, to act accordingly in redemptive kindness. Mercy is proactive, personal, practical loving-kindness that immerses us in the weakness, sin, and suffering of others in order to lift them out of it. As Andrew Murray said, “Mercy saves the sinner, not in spite of, but by means of, the very judgment that came upon his sin.”
That is the very same kind of mercy that God extended to us through Jesus when he crawled into human skin and lived as one of us. Jesus took on our flesh, experienced our weakness, knew what it was like to be tempted, disappointed, rejected, betrayed and to suffer as we do. He experienced what we were like so that we could experience what God was like. He became the Son of man so that we could become the sons of God. He endured life on earth so that we could experience heaven on earth, and some day, heaven in heaven for all eternity.
In other words, mercy is simply acting in ways that brings God close to people in order to bring people close to God. That is how showing mercy becomes our call to the practice of being God.
So how can you practice being God with the people in your world? Here are three suggestions:
- Practice being more understanding. That will require you to be more patient, to listen more carefully, and to be more tolerant and less condemning of weaknesses. That’s what crawling into another person’s skin will do for you, as opposed to getting under their skin!
- Practice being more redemptive. That will require you to be more forgiving and sacrificially committed to reconciling with those who’ve hurt, disappointed, disagreed with or angered you.
- Practice being more generous. That will require you to open up your life—your time, your home, and yes, your resources—to be ridiculously open-handed with others.
Just remember, you are never more like God than when demonstrating God’s mercy. You are practicing being God. And Jesus says you will be blessed!