As the areas of leadership I am presently responsible take myself and our leadership team deeper into the Heart of the City of Akron I have been contemplating the question and reality of Forgiveness. Unavoidably as we encounter the suffering, the broken, the wayward and the lost all of us will have to call upon, if not fall upon grace. What I have been wondering about is this tension between judgement and mercy.
As I/we seek to enlarge the Kingdom of God by inviting others to participate and experience the graciousness of a gracious God, will I/we have to be forgiven more for judging or more for mercy? The theologically correct answer is obvious and safe, both. Since calling upon forgiveness will be inevitable I hope that a leaning toward the latter will be most evident. That God had better have a boatload of forgiveness for me because I will be tacking hard toward mercy.
I am haunted by Jesus’ words to his own religious establishment as he sought to establish a new day, a new rule for his Father’s Kingdom, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.”- Matthew 7:1-2 Gulp! Jesus seems to be warning that we now hold in our own fragile hands the fabric of another Kingdom or the same old same old. The measure you give will be the measure you get. Gulp! Mercy means to act with compassion. And the greek word for compassion is σπλαγχνίζομαι/splagchnizomai, “to be moved as to one’s bowels.” Now imagine such a response, one from the “inside out.” One that turns me inside out. A response where we’re “sick” at our stomachs because of the burden’s that so many carry alone. I hope I need to be forgiven for being heart sick, bowel sick over a world in need of God’s mercy. Jesus has initiated such a response in the world. Now he leaves it up to us to get sick for the world.