You who at one time were disobedient to God have now received mercy. ~ Romans 11:30
If you’ve taken an English Literature class somewhere along the way, perhaps the name of Robert Browning rings a bell. Robert Browning was one of the most famous and successful English poets of the 19th Century. Even more extraordinary than his poetry, however, was Robert’s wife, Elizabeth.
Before she met Robert, Elizabeth was a highly respected poet in her own right. But she lived at the home of her possessive and tyrannical father. When Elizabeth and Robert married, her father – for reasons perhaps known only to him – refused to talk to her. For the next ten years, Elizabeth faithfully wrote beautiful, loving letters to her father, patiently working to reconcile their relationship.
Then her father died. Around that time, she received a package in the mail from her father’s address. The package contained all of the letters she had sent over the previous ten years. He had never opened a single one.
A sad story? Yes. But there’s a larger story here that’s beautiful. That package of unopened letters was her expression of love for the most important Person in her life. Over the years, Elizabeth had made no secret of her love for Jesus Christ as her Savior from sin. She knew all about the mercy and forgiveness he had won for her at the cross. His flood of undeserved love in her life empowered her to show mercy to others – even to an unforgiving father.
You and I have the same Savior. We have received the same forgiveness and undeserved love as did Elizabeth. And we have the same reason to show mercy toward others – especially those who have hurt us.
After all, being merciful to others reflects our thanks to Jesus who had such great mercy on us.
Lord Jesus, you know the people in my life who have hurt me. Point me to the cross. Empower me to show mercy. Empower me to forgive. Amen.