Like most of you, I watched the images this weekend of the mayor of Puerto Rico wading through fetid waters to help the people of her city, juxtaposed against the tweets the President sent out from his golf course and felt ill.
It wasn’t just that our President revealed himself for the gazillionteenth time to be an unapologetically callous, echo-chamber dwelling narcissist. It’s that there are still too many Christians in my circles of fellowship who think his leadership decisions and demeanor towards the American citizens of Puerto Rico are somehow NBD, or fake news, or even justified – because apparently, Puerto Rico has been lead by Democrats for decades, so they’re all just getting what they’ve had coming anyway.
To which I’ve wanted to say…..well, a lot, but not all of it has been righteous, and I’ve been wrestling with my attitude about that as much as anything.
Then yesterday when I was at the gym, a spoken word piece arranged by Beautiful Eulogy, from a sermon by Art Azurdia (one of my very favorite non-famous preachers in the world) on Matthew 5:7 came across my Pandora feed that captured what was righteous about my anger, and burned away what wasn’t.
Pastor Azurdia asks, on Jesus’ behalf, the question all of us should be asking – lay people, pastors, and presidents alike,
as we watch our fellow citizens suffer, and as other citizens sacrificially serve them in doing what they can to alleviate it.
Blessed Are the Merciful
“Are you merciful?
Because Jesus healed the sick; because Jesus fed the multitudes; because Jesus gave legs to the crippled; because Jesus granted sight to the blind; because Jesus opened the ears of the deaf; because Jesus found prostitutes and tax collectors, and threw them into the sphere of His love.
Jesus touched the untouchable, and loved the unlovable, and forgave the unforgivable, and welcomed the undesirable.
Because Jesus even now saves the otherwise unsaveable.
Because they deserve it?
When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us. Not because of works done in righteousness, not because we met Him halfway, not because we took the proper steps forward, and in good faith elevated ourselves to the place of the deserving poor,
but according to His mercy.
We are here because Jesus Christ didn’t say with cold indifference,
“Give them what they deserve, they brought it on themselves.”
Jesus Christ IS the mercy of God.
And seeing us in our misery and need, He doesn’t just feel for us; He takes the necessary action to relieve our distress.
He leaves the eternal glory of heaven, and the perfect fellowship of the Trinity. He condescends to us, lives among us, suffers like us, dies for us.
Do you understand this? Have you experienced this?
How then is it possible to experience it, and not display it?
It isn’t possible.
You haven’t experienced it, if you don’t display it.
The evidence of God’s mercy in your life isn’t determined by how much theology you know, or by how many books you read, but by your active goodness to people in misery, and in need.