Lord, have mercy on me
Lord, have mercy on me
One of my favourite books, (and movie) is the classic, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Jean Valjean is the hero who has spent 19 years in prison. His crime? Stealing bread for his starving niece. He is finally released, but hates society for making him a hard and bitter man, after all, the punishment didn’t really fit the crime. As he wanders through a village, they refuse to welcome him into their homes, he has nowhere to stay. No one wants to give him a second chance, all they see is a convict, and Valjean responds by meeting their expectations. With all he has been through, what reason had he to hope in human kindness?
There is one exception, a saintly bishop gives him dinner and a warm bed. However, Valjean pays him back by stealing his silver, watch the powerful scene below.
The bishop ransomed Valjean from a life of hatred with very expensive silver candlesticks. He wiped the slate clean, and gave him a fresh start.
There is a passage of scripture that says, “You who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy” … Romans 11:30a
We are Jean Valjean.
We are an offender in need, and have been shown mercy by God, we now have two choices. Accept or reject the mercy that’s been offered.
We can act like Javert, who rejected mercy. Javert is the villian in this story, he doggedly pursues Valjean because he believes Valjean needs to be in prison. He thinks he’s protecting society by upholding the law. But Valjean has reformed, he is now a contributor and helping those less fortunate.
On face value, Javert is doing a meticulous job, he’s correct in upholding the law, he’s accountable to his superiors, he wants to ‘clean up the community’. He delights in finding faults in others, and exposing their guilt. Ouch, I think I’m making my point a little close to home. Javert doesn’t have mercy, he can’t get into the skin of those he’s pursuing, he doesn’t see their hurts, backgrounds and what made them that way.
Or we can be like Valjean, have an honest look at ourselves, see that we need help, and accept the mercy that’s been offered. Then because we are grateful, we give mercy to others.
In July, James Robinson of Oakridge Tennessee, was in a parking lot with his family after a fireworks night. Randomly, a truck roared rapidly in reverse heading towards them, collecting 8 cars and 12 people on its way. James saw what was happening and jumped in front of the truck to save his daughter from being hit. He was killed in the process.
Do you think his child will know that she was loved? Do you think his memory will be forgotten? Do you think she would want to lead a life that honours her father?
This is what Jesus did for us, he died so we didn’t have to. Let’s try to lead lives that would honour Him.
From The Merchant of Venice, By Shakespeare
The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
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:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.
On the subject of Mercy, there is a Foundation Dinner held at Granville supporting people of Northern Uganda, Mercy Akongo is the organiser, check more out here. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]