The mercy of God upon our lives is endless, as He does not treat us according to our faults or sins. For God to be merciful means that when we deserve to be punished due to our sins He would overlook the punishment and bless us instead. To say that God is merciful simply means that God is withholding a just condemnation and blessing us in return.
God is the replica of mercy in all His ways, this can be found in the way he deals with us as his children. Many a time when people hurt us we find it difficult to forgive them all because of the pains they have caused us. Often times the pains we cause God by our sins and faults are even more painful than the ones others inflict on us.
To be Christians means to be Christ –like that is, we are supposed to also show mercy as our heavenly father is merciful. There are many instances in the Bible where God had mercy on the people whose offences were forgiven and showed mercy without looking at their faults or sins. Mercy is not getting what we truly deserve in the sense that, every sin attracts a particular punishment whenever it is committed but when mercy comes in, the punishment no longer surface it disappears as if nothing happened this is to show how far the mercy of God can go, erasing the sin totally without trace.
A typical example of God’s mercy and forgiveness can be seen in the Gospel of John Chapter 8: 3-11, where the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, we know that the sin of adultery is not committed by a single party, it involves both parties. But since it happened in a patriarchal society, were women are at the receiving end she was caught and brought to Jesus for judgement.
Thanks be to God for the wisdom of Jesus who was able to see through their evil hearts and prevented them from perpetuating it. They thought that when they say that it is written in the law, that Moses said any woman caught in adultery should be stoned to death (John 8: 5), they thought Jesus would ask them to stone her to death but to show that the mercy of God supersedes our sins and faults, Jesus cancelled the punishment that would have brought her death and gave her life through his mercy and forgiveness. Jesus’s reply to the crowd was like a bombshell all because they never expected this kind of answer, “He said, if you are without sin be the first to throw a stone at her (John 8:7), They all went away from the biggest to the smallest, and Jesus turned to the woman and said, woman did any one condemn you? And she replied no one, neither do I, go and sin no more. What a merciful God!
Furthermore, another prove of God’s mercy can be found in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 1: 35-40). Here we would see that the younger son after squandering his father’s wealth, realised his faults that he had sinned against his father and had decided to go back to his father to reunite himself not as a son but as a slave but the behaviour of his father surprised him by not acting on the sin committed, but on the contrary immediately he saw him at a distance he ran to embrace him for a very long time as a sign of mercy and forgiveness. He went further to reinstate him by giving him a new cloth, put a new shoe on his feet, killed the fattest cow and finally he restored him back to his former dignity by putting a ring on his finger all these put together made his elder brother sad and he refused to enter the house. The father was so over joyed and had no other response than to say “Your brother who was lost is found, he was dead but now he is alive” (Luke15: 32). This is the mercy of God at work. According to justice, this prodigal son was supposed to suffer for his sins, but when the mercy of God came around his situation changed as if nothing happened before. God is our father always waiting for our return. Like the prodigal son, whenever we return to God, there is always great joy in heaven ( Luke 15:7). This is a typical example of what we gain as children of God when we run to his mercy. As Christians, we should always try to seek the mercy of God rather than running away from him. Some persons feel that God cannot forgive them because of the weight of their sins, some on the other hand have stopped going to church because they have lost hope of God’s mercy believing that God cannot forgive them. The Mercy of God is gushing forth from time to time irrespective of colour, race, statutes, nationality or religion, the mercy of God is always open to all. The mercy of God is divine in nature, which means it is not man made but designed by God. This is why it is possible for God to forgive and forget our past faults and sins without any trace. The mercy of God showed to us is that when we were sinners God sent his son to come and die for us, (Romans 5:8-10). The greatest example of God’s mercy is Jesus paying our debt on the cross. The death of Jesus on the cross reconciled us with the father. The purpose of Christ death on the cross was to prevent separation and constantly uniting us with God. For us to be united with God we need the intervention of the divine mercy of God, according to Saint Faustina it is the last hope that Jesus provided for us, if we refuse to tap through this opportunity it will be very difficult for us to gain salvation, Jesus had promised lots of graces to those who seek his mercy with sincere hearts. The mercy of God is so vast that it is allotted to all without reserve; the mercy of God can be compared to amnesty given to a prisoner. By amnesty I mean a pardon granted to prisoners who were initially sentenced to life imprisonment. As Christians, the same opportunities are open for us when we ask for the mercy of God upon our lives.
Finally, the prayer of the divine mercy shows a complete picture of God’s unfathomed mercy for us not minding the cost. The prayer of the divine mercy begins with the following prayer: “ You expired Jesus but the source of life gushed forth for souls and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world o fount of life, unfathomable divine mercy envelop the whole world and empty yourself out upon us” (Diary of Saint Faustina Kowalska, 1319). From the above prayer, Jesus is telling us how much he loved us by giving up himself for our sake. We now depend on him for survival as our only source of existence; his mercy is continuous without restriction. Since many of us are not aware of this treasure, he decided to reveal it to us through Saint Faustina Kowalska a Catholic Nun from Poland to make his divine mercy known to the whole world. The message of the divine mercy is a powerful means of drawing us closer to Christ. We should always remember that his mercy is the central of our lives and we must continually depend on it and ask for it daily. The scripture says all we are like sheep gone astray each man to his own way and the Lord has laid on him (Jesus) the iniquities of us all (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus Christ our saviour have purchased us with his precious blood on mount Calvary, for his sacred side was pierced with a lance and blood and water gushed forth. Our Lord underwent his sorrowful passion out of his abundant love and mercy, he is calling us to himself, for the scripture says a humble and contrite heart he will not spurn (Psalm 51:17). JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU.
Sr Margret Ogbebor SSMA is a Catholic Nun, working in the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto. She is the Head Teacher of St Martin de Porres Nursery and Primary School Katsina. [email protected]