THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
MERCY AND COMPASSION
There is no god like our God. Our God is a God of mercy. “Who
is a God like you, who removes guilt and pardons sin for the
remnant of his inheritance; who does not persist in anger
forever, but instead delights in mercy” (Mi 7:18). David,
who had sinned grievously against God, knew the mercy of God.
It is He “Who pardons all your sins, and heals all your
ills, who redeems your life from the pit, and crowns you with
mercy and compassion” (Ps 103:3-4).
mercy of God is beautifully illustrated in today’s three
parables--that of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost
son. God searches for the lost. God longs for sinners to repent
and be reconciled with Him. God never gives up on anyone.
And when the sinner does repent and return to Him, God rejoices.
mercy is more than what we understand to be compassion. Compassion
has to do with pity, empathizing with the sorry state of another.
“While he was still a long way off, his father caught
sight of him, and was filled with compassion.” (Lk 15:20b).
The father saw an emaciated and bedraggled son, and he felt
sorry for him. But mercy is acting on that compassion. “He
ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.” (Lk 15:20c).
The father not only ignored the son’s prepared speech,
but he clothed his son in proper attire and called for a celebration.
In other words, the father did not exact just punishment on
the son for his sins, but forgave and restored him. “He
has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as
our wrongs deserve.” (Ps 103:10).
we experience God’s mercy. We in turn are to be merciful
as God is merciful. The parable of the lost son ends on a
sour note, with regard to the older son. The younger son,
being shown mercy, is moved from death to life, from being
lost to being found, from sin to grace. The older son, in
withholding mercy, remains unmoved by the pleadings of his
father, and is now the one who is estranged. The younger son
has reentered the family home, while the older son refuses
to enter the house.
we blame the older son? His reasoning is sound. “Look,
all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your
orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on
with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up
your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the
fattened calf.” (Lk 15:29-30). He felt cheated with
what he considered to be an unjust act of his father. He was
that is exactly what mercy is. it is unreasonable, uncalled
for, undeserved, lavish and unfair. It withholds the punishment
that is deserved, and gives the blessing that is undeserved.
And we all are fortunate and blessed that this is how the
mercy of God is. “Merciful and gracious is the Lord,
slow to anger, abounding in mercy.” (Ps 103:8).
else can we say? “Bless the Lord, my soul; all my being,
bless his holy name!” (Ps 103:1).