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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Many scolded him, telling him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, show me mercy!”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him forward.”

They called the blind man, “Be encouraged! Get up! He’s calling you.”

Throwing his coat to the side, he jumped up and came to Jesus.

Mark 10:48-50

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This started with Bartimaeus’s recognition of Jesus. Then “the many” got involved. The scripture says “many” rebuked him. Can’t you hear it? “Don’t bother Jesus!” While minds raced with thoughts like, “He is getting what he deserves… he is not whole… not one of us…”  Well, Bartimaeus had none of that. He got louder!

Have you been one of the “many”? I know I have. I’ve judged others based on physical appearance, disability, and social status, among other things. My judgments likely limited opportunities for relationships and personal growth and may have kept others from life-changing possibilities.

You know what is cool in this story though? The “many” changed their tunes when Jesus said, “Call him.” All of a sudden Bartimaeus is included. “Take heart buddy, he is calling you.” Jesus hears those who ask for mercy regardless of their status. That sounds like a lesson we all could learn.

Bill Ogletree

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God, when I get in the way of others calling for mercy, change me. Let me see all people as you do and, by doing so, let me willingly bring those in need to you. Amen.

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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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