Time For God: Day 8

Written by: Paul Beckingham

Focus: Psalm 123:3-4
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us! For we are exceedingly filled with contempt. Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorn of those who are at ease, with the contempt of the proud.
 
Reflect:
Mercy rings sweetest in an anguished soul. Shame kills, cripples, and maims. William Shakespeare well understood mercy’s divine roots. In The Merchant of Venice (Act 4, Scene 1), Portia plumbs mercy’s mystery. She begins with these oft-recited words: The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

Portia’s words reveal mercy’s double blessing. Mercy releases the guilty from being named, shamed, and blamed. Shame bends people out of shape. It wounds, targets, and isolates. Some observe that shame is not failure; it is failure paraded in public. It causes dire distress. Shame is the demonic engine driving all addictions.

Shame torments its victims to seek relief in toxic behaviors. The result? More shame; more distress; more dysfunctional behavior. Relief behaviors promise release but wreck your self-respect. Ensnaring chains of isolation bring remorse.

The Apostle Paul dissects sin’s thievery. In Romans, Chap. 7, he lays bare sin’s shame and guilt’s despair. He cries: O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! (24-25).

Sin behaved in those ways then; today, it is no different. As for Paul …so with us. Self-loathing is a loaded weapon wielded by the enemy of our souls. With it, he entraps a person of faith. When self-contempt comes calling, and peer-judgment runs amuck, listen …hear the whisper of God’s voice. His grace calls out your name.

Receive Christ’s mercy as His healing balm, today. God knows your evident failures. Fear prevents you telling God your story. Perfect love already shared it with Him. Let the psalmist teach you how to pray, today: Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us! Now watch as the miracle of hope appears: God’s mercy comes to you!

Consider: 
How has shame tripped you up, holding you back from God’s purposes? Can you bring your guilt and shame to God today? How can you share God’s mercy and grace with a friend? Can you share the release and forgiveness you have found in Jesus?
 
Pray: 
Merciful Father, my sin is ever before me and my heart aches for new beginnings. I receive your mercy today. Let me share it with others trapped in shame. Shine on us the light of your redeeming power and the uncompromising, extravagant, prodigal, ever-faithful, unreserved, and relentlessly pursuing love of Jesus, our Saviour! Amen.

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