'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
A movie was released years ago entitled "Tender Mercies". The title was intriguing at the time. In essence, as I recall, it was about the extension of forgiveness, patience, and gentleness which enabled an individual to put his live back together again. Of course, there was much more to the story, but that is what I remember.
Mercy is not often found or experienced today. Have you ever longed for mercy - especially tender mercy? I have. Tender mercy is the direct approach of an Almighty God in dealing with all peoples. This is of course not understood or recognized by the inhabitants of the world. Were it not for God’s "tender mercies", nothing would survive a just Creator’s wrath and justice. (Psalm 145:9). In all of God’s dealings with mankind, mercy is an underlying motive and the one thing which prevents destruction of all of us. God is extremely patient and forbearing - for even the worst of humankind.
Tenderness and softness of heart in any context or form, is not in vogue today. We are living in a era of harshness and rudeness, a world of extremes. Emotional extremes of hardness and callousness are in style, and considered worldly wise and respected. One of the hallmarks of the end times is a propensity for cold heartedness between people - individuals and nations (2 Timothy 3:1-3). Throughout the Psalms mercy is asked for, pleaded for, waited for, and expected. Mercy is a Godlike thing - and not just mercy, but "TENDER mercy"! Mercy is a marvelous thing that implies forgiveness, acceptance, comforting. "Tender mercy" takes it all to a higher level. It is one thing to extend or receive mercy. When "tender mercy" is extended or received, mercy is amplified exponentially! I remember attending a church service in which the music director opened with a very sincere statement that everyone there should allow God to soften our hearts as we proceeded into the service. He knew that after a week of struggling with lions and sharks, we certainly needed a tender and softened heart before we could even hear as we should, much less absorb, and then act - certainly a wise admonition prior to worshiping God (Acts 4:32-35-6).
Mercy can be given on a purely legalistic plane, such as could be administered by a judge, or jury - and this is a marvelous experience for those receiving "mercy". However, tender mercy is forgiving, and includes acceptance and restoration. It is filled with warmth, comfort, and encouragement. Mercy is magnified beyond all calculation. It enters a realm of the spiritual that is the personal domain of a loving God. This God expressed this type of mercy through offering His Son for YOU and ME. This is "tender mercy"! I believe that those who have received little tender mercy find it very difficult to extend it. Conversely, those who have not extended tender mercy, find it very difficult to receive it. This is an enigma of our fallen world. This is part of what cuts us off from each others. Barnabas, in the book of Acts is described as the "Son of Consolation", or in the English of today, " the Encourager". It seems that he was one whose approach to others was one of positive optimism and mercy - even "tender mercies" (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). It is a gift of God to have the capacity to show, extend - and gracefully receive - tender mercies.
Not too many have it, it seems...
There is an entire Psalm devoted exclusively to mercy. It is Psalm 136. Each verse closes with the truth that mercy "endures forever". In Psalms and Proverbs, the expression "tender mercies" is repeated twelve times in the KJV. If God’s mercy endures forever, should we not be growing in the capacity and ability to receive and extend mercy? Especially ‘TENDER MERCIES"!...
This Psalm drives home the message about mercy with a compelling emphasis. It is a repetitious song not unlike many today in which a theme is repeated over and over. Each verse ends with "His mercy endures forever!". How thankful we should be that God’s mercy endures forever! For if it were not so, there BE NO FOREVER for you and me - forever...!
If you extend mercy, you will receive it. Christ will balance all accounts, one way or another. If you administer mercy with tenderness and a soft heart, you have taken the recipient - and yourself - to a higher plane. You are approaching the mind of Christ Himself. You have made yourself vulnerable. You have given away part of your very soul. When we extend TENDER mercy, we have turned our backs on considerations of self. This is approaching sacrificial Love - the Love of God. You are now an "encourager", a Barnabas. You have given Love. This kind of love is of God. He has plenty, more than enough to replenish your supply as the result of giving some of it away! He will more than replenish you - He will increase you the more!
Can you extend mercy? Can you extend "tender mercies" to someone you know - or perhaps someone you do not know yet? (Luke 6:37-38). If you will, you will surely be known by them, and by Jesus Christ Himself...perhaps you will all come to know each other - just because of your "tender mercies"...
Show "tender mercies" to someone today - someone THAT BY ALL REASON AND COMMON SENSE DOES NOT DESERVE IT. Someone will extend it to you.
Someone already has...and "His mercy endures forever"!
"For to him who has shown no mercy the judgment [will be] merciless, but mercy [full of glad confidence] exults victoriously over judgment."- James 2:13 (Amplified Bible)
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