06/02

The Mercy Measure

“…For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38b

Before Luke 6:38, Jesus has taught about loving our enemies and the dangers of judging others. After Luke 6:38 Jesus taught about criticism and hypocrisy. In the middle He teaches about giving, saying that if you give, it will be given back to you – pressed down, shaken together and running over. It’s like what I do when I bake my desserts – I really pack in that brown sugar, shake to make room for more chocolate chips, and pour in a little extra vanilla extract. Jesus says that if you use a big measure to give, then that same big measure will be used to give back to you. If you use a small measure, then a small measure will be used to give back to you. I don’t believe that the size of the measurement is based on the amount of the gift. Because of the context that it is in, I believe that Jesus is referring to the heart’s capacity to openly and freely extend grace to others compared to those who are more guarded, closed and stingy with their love.

Mark 11:25-26 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” This verse is saying to forgive, which means to let go, to release from judgment. We must keep our heart open in forgiveness, whether they repent or not. We pray for repentance so that there can be restoration of trust and relationship. Until then, we let God be the judge of our offenders, not us.

I understand that pain hurts. Pain isn’t something that we want to feel. Being damaged or stolen from can be difficult to recover from. However, if we keep our hearts free from offense and extend mercy to our offenders, we also free our hearts to receive God’s gracious restoration. If we show mercy with a big open heart, then God will be able to share Himself with us in a big way – with our forgiveness, our healing, our provision, our blessing! If we close our heart off, then how will God get in? Stay open! Stay free! What we need to guard against are the offenses that try to get us to harden our heart. Instead, we need to allow God to heal us. We need to keep our hearts pliable and open so God can move in us and through us. With the same measure that we give is the same measure that we receive.

Application: “If you have ANYTHING against ANYONE, forgive.” When you forgive, you are releasing that person from your judgment. Don’t be their judge (James 4:11-12). Let God handle that case.

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