Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. - Psalm 51:1
So many times in life we feel deserving of right treatment, we feel like we deserve always good things. We look at others and think of them as worse then us and try and justify ourselves. Those who always judge others are not recipents of mercy or have at least forgotten the great mercy shown to them. We consider God a just God, and in many ways He is, but if He were truly just without mercy we would all be sent to hell. God chooses to remember us when we should be forgotten and left to our own devices. Asking for God's mercy is something the prophets and believers of the Old Testament cried out for. In the New Testament we see this same cry, notably three times in the Gospels. The Canaanite woman cries out "Lord have mercy on me" (Matthew 15:22). The two blind men cry out to Jesus, "Lord have mercy on us" (Matthew 20:30-31). Lastly, Blind Bartimaeus cries out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me" (Mark 10:46). These individuals saw the reality of humanity that it is in need of God's mercy. Jesus clearly gave these people mercy, something they did not deserve.
This has always been the foundation of the belief of Christianity that we are not deserving and need God's mercy. Whether or not we have experienced God's forgiveness we need God's mercy still. We stand by God's mercy. All Christian life needs to be lived out "in view of God's mercy" (Romans 12:1). Church tradition carried on the reminder of the need of mercy through the phrase, "Lord have mercy." This phrase in the greek Bible is: "Kyrie Eleison." Many liturgies in the early Church and protestant denominations have kept this phrase in a hymn or said three times during communion or a service. It reminds us that we constantly need God's mercy and it newly petitions God for this undeserving mercy in our lives. One of my mentors used to tell me that all he can pray for is God's mercy these days. I scratched my head and wondered why? But now years later I understand that the more we understand and know God, the more we realize we do not deserve forgiveness and need His constant mercy. John Chrysostom says, "Even if we reach the summit of virtue, we are saved only by God's mercy," We cannot pray for mercy to God without being willing to extend mercy freely to others. When we pray for mercy we are also praying for God to make us merciful to others. It is a very ancient thing to do but something very acceptable by God to pray, Lord have mercy on me a sinner. And with humility we can also pray Marantha, come Lord Jesus.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon