Well, I guess its confession time, drum roll please! Well, maybe its not that dramatic, but I had a great conversation with the Lord this morning, so I wanted to share it with you. Maybe you struggle with some of the same things that I do.
In the course of ministry, and remember, this is a confession, I sometimes lack compassion for myself and others when the devastation or pain in their lives is completely self-inflicted. I’m not talking about things that we all do out of ignorance that bring pain into our lives, I’m talking about the things that we do knowing all along that we are violating God’s principles, things that God has warned us about, maybe sent good friends to talk to us about, but we do them anyway. I’m referring to those occasions when out of complacency, spiritual laziness, or flat-out rebellion, we go our own way and then reap the inevitable results of those choices. At those times, I often have a very hard time feeling compassion in my heart for the person or situation. I know, that’s terrible, but it’s true.
I am however an equal opportunity judge. I am just as harsh with myself in these situations, as I am with anyone else – probably harsher. Don’t get me wrong; I always feel sadness that someone I care about is hurting. But I sometimes have a dumbfounded, “well what did you expect?” attitude that does not reflect the heart of God; and I really, passionately, want to know and carry His heart toward people all the time. So, the only thing I know to do is to take these things into prayer.
I had just such a prayer time this morning, maybe you can relate. First I had to spend time before God apologizing for my attitude. I get really tired of doing that so much, but it’s better than not doing it at all. Next, I moved asked God to show me His heart for a person and a situation, and I asked for His grace to empower me to minister from His love. I know that I can’t ever minster anything life-changing if it doesn’t come from the love of God.
In response, God spoke a very simple word to my heart that set me free in my own life, and also equipped me to minister from a clean heart. Here it is–ready? He simply said, “My love never stops at the point of self-inflicted wounds, My grace is made for the day of your biggest mistakes, and My mercies are brand new every morning.” I always appreciate the fact that the Lord does not feel the need to follow a statement like that with “duh!”
Wow! –simple but powerful. That means that while God certainly does want us to walk in His principles, and He certainly does not like to see His children doing things that bring pain and destruction into their lives, He is always there to pick us up, dust us off, and set us back on course. There is no limit to His love, grace, and mercy. If there is a limiting factor, it is in our willingness to receive His love, grace, and mercy, accept correction when necessary, and go on with Him. God hurts when we hurt, even if it was our own hard-headedness that brought on the pain.
This comforts me, first because I can be pretty hard-headed, and second because my own personal lack of compassion at times can be refilled and superseded by God’s unlimited compassion. God can always give me a new perspective on a situation, fill me with fresh mercy for people, and equip me to minister His grace to anyone and everyone.
I guess the message here is, never think that your mistakes, your misbehavior, or those of another, are ever going to stop God from pouring His grace out to you or through you. Our messes are never bigger than His provision. It’s true–God’s love never stops.