FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
MERCY AND SIN
July 1, 2016
Today’s gospel: Matthew 9:9-13
Jesus tells the Pharisees who were critical of his eating with tax collectors and sinners, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (v.13b).
In this Year of Mercy, we are learning more about God’s mercy. It is God forgiving us our transgressions and not exacting the just punishment for our sins. But mercy is about turning away from sin, which is an affront against a merciful God. There is a false mercy that is political correctness, welcoming and accompanying the sinner but not talking about his sin, so as not to cause offense. Such false mercy in fact keeps a person in his sin, as acceptance is perceived as also acceptance of his sinful situation. As such, it is the antithesis of mercy, since a person in his continuing sin is not brought back to God’s full embrace, and ultimately to eternal salvation.
Jesus says, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.” (v.12). So should the doctor go to the sick person and just hold his hand, accompany him and just give soothing words of comfort? Or should he honestly tell him what is wrong, treat the sickness, and even excise what is unhealthful?
True mercy is certainly about being welcoming and loving, but it is also being forthright about what can treat the spiritual illness, and that is repentance and turning to faith in Jesus.
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