Mercy: An urgent call for testimony
Barbara Vittucci (a longstanding friend of DSM/LW, Barb resides in Vienna, Austria and has been a lifeline to hundreds in the church seeking wholeness)
Have you received mercy? Through the healing love of Jesus Christ, are you growing in restoration of soul, identity, relationships, and sexuality? In our days of titanic confusion in these very areas, the world needs your testimony as never before. It is a time for the flood gates of mercy to open and to draw many of the lost and least into the loving embrace of Jesus Christ.
But what is mercy? Is it political correctness? Is it playing ‘nice’ and remaining silent in the face of injustice? Does it enable destructive behavior? Not according to Scripture and Church tradition. Throughout the centuries, churches have taught on both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The works of mercy are not optional but are essential to living the Christian life of holiness and goodness. These are active, challenging expressions of mercy.
The Corporal Works of Mercy are based on Mt 25: “For I was hungry, thirsty, naked, in prison, a stranger, sick. What you did for the least of these, you did unto me…“ These works include feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing and sheltering the homeless, and visiting the sick and imprisoned.
The Spiritual Works of Mercy are taken from a variety of scriptures and include admonishing the sinner (LK 15:7), instructing the ignorant (Mk 16:1), counseling the doubtful (Jude 23), comforting the sorrowful (Gal. 6:2), bearing wrongs patiently (Col. 3:12), and forgiving our wound-ers (Mt. 6:12).
Mercy expresses love in very concrete ways for our neighbor’s physical or spiritual well-being. To admonish, instruct and counsel belongs to mercy. That means that truth and mercy are intimately connected. It is the Holy Spirit, the One who is called The Spirit of Truth and The Comforter, who leads us in how to love well.
Truth, when not in love, is legalistic. And love cut off from truth can lead to destruction.
Here is another classic and helpful list for our consideration. We can be an accessory to another’s sin through: counsel, command, provocation, praise and flattery, concealment and silence, and by defense of the ill done. In our desire to make peace and please people instead of God, many of us have been an accessory to sin. When we do this, we commit cruel, unmerciful acts. .
Amid the confusion surrounding mercy and sexual wholeness, a door of hope opens. Forbidden topics are now being addressed in church. What an opportunity to offer help to the strugglers who are everywhere!. Now we can speak more openly, without the shame that shrouds our struggles and keeps us bound. Let the light in. Open prison doors.
Go tell the world. Your struggles have more meaning than you know. Your testimonies of hope are the atomic power of the Gospel and are deeply needed in our day. People trust those who have been there. This is mercy. And no one can take away the power of your story. You were born for such a time as this.