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Faith Imagined: December 2008

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

December 18, 2008

Entitled to be Merciful!

I was feeling very confused today. Someone had really let me down, and I am really waging a battle against strife. I do not want strife to enter into my life. I'm reading Joyce Meyer's book, Conflict Free Living, which I didn't think I needed at first. I don't have much conflict in my life, but it seems that God would have His Children have zero conflict. God speaks a lot about His people having harmony in the Bible.
I feel like God has been sand-blasting me with creating harmony in all my relationships. This means to let things go instantly and not mull them over in my head or with another friend, which women so often tend to do. Proverbs 17.9 describes this beautifully when it reads, "He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends." I need to let the matter go instantly, whether big or small.

What I found is that the root of an offense always leads to pride and not trusting in God. When I feel like someone has let me down, I have put my trust in them and not in God. I have also not shown humility, instead I have shown the attitude that I hate most -- The Entitlement Attitude. Sometimes I think we have so many entitlements that we take for granted and actually believe we deserve them. In actuality, we deserve nothing short of death away from the presence of God (aka Hell) since we, none of us, can meet the standard of godliness He intended us to have. We are entitled to be judged, yet we receive mercy.

I was reading in Micah 6 today (I'm almost done reading the entire Bible!) and God was speaking to the Israelites. God is punishing the Israelites because they have forsaken Him, but He says that He will redeem them by bringing them a Shepherd (Christ): "And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace" (Micah 5.4b-5).

The Holy Spirit taught me through that verse that God will redeem us. Another country did not redeem the Israelites, Christ Himself redeemed them. The same goes for me. Another person will not redeem me, only Christ will. I must not seek redemption from others.

I read further in Micah and came across a scripture that I have always loved but never read in context. In Micah 6 the Israelites are trying to figure out how they can come back to God. They have come to terms with their Entitlement Attitude and now understand their shame. What must they do in order to please God, the Creator of all, the God that they prostituted themselves against, the forsaken God that loves them? "With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (Micah 6.6-7).

This hit home with me because I do have a first born, I do have a baby in my womb and I deserve neither of them. They are a blessing that I should never have. God deserves them, not me. He gave them to me because He loves me. So what must I do? I'm stuck with this Entitlement Attitude. I'm deeply hurt and God has required me to live in harmony, even if I must always be the one to adjust my tune. I'm accountable to be a good wife, mother, friend and person, whether or not a person has hurt me, made me feel vulnerable or caused chaos to come into my life. I finally asked God to do what I should have asked Him to do a long time ago. "God You are my Protector and my Healer. I find safety in You alone and not in any person. Please teach me to trust You with this situation. Let not my expectations fall on any one else."

Then finally after I reached that revelation, which God had probably been waiting for quite some time, I read one of my favorite verses: "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." This verse has always been special to me, but the Holy Spirit showed me something different. "To love mercy" not only means to love receiving mercy, but also to love giving mercy. I always enjoyed reading that verse because I love receiving mercy! However, I must be merciful at every turn and rely on God to take care of me. Whenever the small issues of strife come along or the big ones where you're really left feeling exposed and hurt, I need to instantaneously offer mercy and rely on God to be my security and my peace.

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