Pause

Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. As you slowly inhale and exhale, breathe in the truth of God’s mercy. The radical notion that God extends favor and blessings to us when we don’t deserve them.

What kind of God is this?

A God that seeks your fellowship in this moment.

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Listen

The Lord proclaims: Sing joyfully for the people of Jacob; shout for the leading nation. Raise your voices with praise and call out: “The Lord has saved his people, the remaining few in Israel!”

Jeremiah 31:7

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Think

Jeremiah was a prophet with a serious job — warning the people of Judah that destruction was around the corner. In short, they needed to return to God’s ways. Jeremiah did not hold punches. Judah was in a sinful state, and he called them out. Then, in chapter 31, Jeremiah begins to drop some good news. There is hope — God can handle this.

What’s the deal here? You mess up, and you get yours, right? Isn’t that justice? God is certainly just, but Jeremiah calls for God’s mercy. Mercy is when you get a break when you don’t deserve it. Judah did not deserve mercy, but Jeremiah cries out for it anyway.

In Matthew, Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” How are you doing on the mercy meter? Is it time to stop thinking about getting even and to start thinking about offering mercy to others?

Bill Ogletree

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Pray

God, it is hard to offer mercy. People around me often don’t seem to deserve it. Open my eyes to see others as you do. Help me find joy in being merciful. God, give me your heart. Amen.

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Go

In 2013, Pope Francis shared that Jesus’ most powerful message for us is mercy.

In a “get even” world, where can you share the radical message of Christ’s mercy today? Can you extend mercy within a broken relationship at school or in the workplace?

It may not feel natural or be easy, but as the Apostle Paul reminds us, with God all things are possible.

Bill Ogletree

Bill Ogletree is a professor at Western Carolina University where he chairs the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. His professional interests center on the communication needs and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. When not at work, Bill enjoys time with his wife and family, an assortment of pets, and a variety of stringed instruments.

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