Friday, August 19, 2011

The Day Mercy Triumphed Over Judgment (a birthday post)

The raging tide of emotions that started last Saturday have come to a full head in this single day.  This day of August 19, 2011, the day my sister Kiley should have turned 28.  It hit me while driving through Harrison last Saturday, a small town that she for a short time, called home.  It had been a full three and a half years.  To borrow another's phrase, three and a half years ago, "Her life was undone in a moment by her own doing." (Jon Bloom)

And I still don't know what to do with that.  I get to meet occasionally with a lady who has tried countless times to take her own life.  But God won't allow it.  He rescues her every single time.  My heart wrestles with why he didn't rescue my sister that day; why didn't He override her desire to undo her life in a single moment?

So, my heart turns to my Mother, because I know a mother's heart.  I think of the birth of my babies.  I know the longing of wanting them in your arms and out of your womb.  I know there is a sense of sacred that surrounds this day.  It was the day her longings for a child came to fruition.  It was the day of God's promises coming to revelation.  It was the day her faith became her eyes...the day her utterances of "God is my vow, God is faithful to His promise" became the beautiful girl dubbed with the middle name Elisabeth "God is my vow, God's promise."

God was fulfilling something to my Mother in the gift of this little girl.

It was a day that mercy triumphed over judgment.  God had the ability of getting right inside of my Mom's skin.  He saw things from her point of view.  He felt the need she had there.  He deliberately identified with her hurt.  And he did something about it.  He poured out his chesed (loving kindness) onto her that day on August 19th.

I think of what Kiley did and how it demands mercy from all those left in the quake of destruction.  I am reminded of the story of the adulteress whom was caught in the act and drug to the feet of Jesus, demanding that she be condemned.  Stoned.  Hated.  Jesus asked everyone to start picking up stones.  But only if they are without sin.  No one picked up a stone that day.  Jesus had the right to.  He was flawless.  But His very heart shouted that mercy should triumph over judgment. 

He had come to bear the burden of that adulteress's guilt. 
He came to bear my sister's guilt.
He came to bear my guilt.

"God visits us when we are in darkness; when we are in such darkness as to know nothing, see nothing, believe nothing, hope nothing; even then the Lord's mercy comes to us."  (Spurgeon)  Mercy triumphed over judgment that day three and half years ago, the day Kiley bowed to the influence of the shadow of death.

My heart has been heavy with this one theme this week:  mercy triumphs over judgment.  If we want to find where mercy was first mentioned in the Bible, we will find it in the story of Lot.  He and his daughters are rescued out of a country that thumbs its nose at the One True God.  They were spared from judgment and harm.

I wonder what it means to be merciful.  I know the merciful will be shown mercy.  I believe our rewards in heaven will be tied to how merciful we have been to others while on earth.  I think it is easy for us to choose to act with judgment instead of mercy...especially towards our country and leaders right now.  Matthew Henry said that "all children of men, in the last day, will be either vessels of wrath or vessels of mercy.  It concerns all to consider among which they shall be found--and let us remember that blessed are the merciful-for they shall obtain mercy." 

Mercy="eleos"; the moral quality of feeling compassion and especially of showing kindness toward someone in need.  It would seem that mercy would always lead to practical help in a person's life.

Will we choose to crawl into someone else's skin until we feel what they feel?  Until we think what they think?  Until we see what they see?  Jesus did.  Jesus chose to become human.  He knows how hard it is to be us, and yet he chose to identify with us anyway.  He chose to be mercy.

"God would have that those whom He has adopted, as He is to them a kind and indulgent Father, to bear and exhibit His image on the earth." Calvin

His image is mercy.

Is that my image?

{Lord, have mercy on me when I have not chosen mercy over judgment.  Give me grace to choose mercy from here on out.}

Happy Birthday Kiley
I promise to eat a double portion of guac and cheese dip and salsa tonight in your memory. 


Kelli said...

Happy Birthday to Kiley. Praying for you and your family today as you remember the good and the bad. Love you.

Bugs and Sunshine said...

Oh Becke' this is a beautiful tribute. You are a blessing. I know you miss Kiley so much. Thank you for sharing these powerful words today. I love you friend.

Anonymous said...

How precious this is! What a wonderful tribute and message! Kelley T.

Heather said...

I am pursuing mercy and trying to break the shackles of judgment in my own heart and does NOT come easy to me...I am such a "Pharisee" by nature. This spoke so powerfully to me. Becke'---I just love your writing...and I love YOU!! Saying a prayer for you and your family today.

Erica said...

This gives me chills. Good stuff, so glad you share it. Love you sister.

In His Army said...

What a beautiful post, Becke. You are precious and this ministered to me. Thank you.