We were touching our
city. In our sanctuary the poor and the homeless, the victims of HIV
and Hepatitis C and drug addicts and alcoholics mixed with the
prosperous and the righteous. We were "doing it the right way."
I was driving to my
office early on a Sunday morning. As I passed the homes of neighbors
and strangers - mostly unbelievers - words rang in my mind: "Mercy
and Grace..." And suddenly I heard another Voice. It was His Voice,
speaking to me. "You're altogether too harsh."
I was shocked! I was one
of the most loving, accepting, forgiving men in town! How could God
call me "harsh?" Yet He
said it because I was just that; harsh in comparison with His heart.
I was judgmental, critical, self-righteous; cloaked in a costume of
That morning I would
enter a wilderness journey created to teach me, as no other
instructor could teach me the meaning
of those words: Mercy and Grace.
We want to "do it the
right way." We want to please God. Sometimes we just want to "make
points" with heaven. But we don't
"make points" and we can't please God without actually understanding
those words: Mercy, Grace. Because
they are so much more than "just words." I couldn't know the true
meaning and the true spirit of those words until I
had walked through the valley of judgment and endured the agony of
looking at my own heart and considering my own motives. I began to
see His heart and His mercy and grace toward me even in the pit of
my self-created ugliness. And slowly, painfully I began to change.
And that change allowed me to see with new eyes; to understand with
a new heart; to speak with a new compassion.
In nearly thirty-seven years of ministry, with all the education and all the instruction
and all the learning I think I've only learned three things for
certain: 1) God is 2) His love for mankind is greater than our
hearts can know or our words can
say and 3) Our Creator's greatest desire is that we - the collective
"we" of the world; red and yellow, black and white;
all of us, should spend forever with Him in His heaven.
And greater than all our
mixed up theologies and all our cultural predispositions and our
“holy” prejudices are those words: "Mercy and
I think I would rather
possess two ounces of mercy and grace than a trillion tons of
prophetic gifting or apostolic anointing or slick,
charismatic appeal. And that’s My Worldview.....for now.