Mercy vs. Judgement

The other day I was attempting to make a cherry pie for the first time. A part of me wanted to wait until I had someone who was skilled at pie-making to show me how to properly assemble the delicious pastry, but I decided to rely upon my own limited understanding and continue to do as I wanted to.

I had bought two frozen pie shells which I had placed in the oven prior to filling them. I remember my mom saying, “you need to bake the shells first.” Without asking her how long, or at what temperature, I carried out the task by simply placing the pie shells in the oven at 350 degrees. Fifteen seconds later, I noticed the shells were completely flattened out in the oven. My initial thought was, oh no…what have I done? 

I immediately took the pie shells out of the oven, placed them on the counter and stared at them for a solid two minutes while thinking of what to do next. Okay, Sara, you’ve got this. Just pick the pie shells up gently and place them back in the tins as they originally came. Slowly, gracefully, I picked the delicate pie dough up from the baking sheet and carefully distributed it back into the tray. Let’s just say…it didn’t go as I’d hoped.

The dough slowly, but inevitably began to fall apart. I didn’t know what to do next, all I could do was think of how silly I was to think I could do something I knew I was not skilled to do. But then I heard a whisper, a soft and tender voice speak over me.

Sara, oh my dear Sara. Don’t you know that my love for you is not based on your performance or skill? My love for you does not change based on whether or not you can make a pie or any other thing. 

I had to pause after I heard the Lord speak. I had to stop and think about what I was doing, and how I had been measuring my worth on my own self-sufficiency.

After I had failed at attempting to make a pie, I originally thought that I was not good enough for anything (yes, I can be extremely hard on myself about a lot of things). But once I heard Jesus say that He loves me despite my abilities, talents, possessions, and failures, I began to recognize an important life lesson: No matter what I do, or don’t do, it does not change the simplicity of Christ’s love for me. The same goes for you too. No matter how many times you have strayed from God, or “gone off the deep end” there is an unchangeable truth that God loves you, and He wants your heart.

Now I must say, there are far worse things I have done in my lifetime besides failing to make a pie. But you get the idea. It was wrong of me to rely on myself to do the job. There are so many things I have done that deserved punishment or judgment, but the Lord prefers to show His mercy. Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13)

Sometimes, we need to step back and picture ourselves being the one who watches what we’re doing as if we’re “the parent.” If I saw my child attempting to do something and failing at it, would I be upset? Would I tell them to give up and move onto some other skill? Of course not! Instead, I would encourage them to try again and as much as I possibly could, I would assist them. Our Heavenly Father is no different.

Heavenly Father, thank You for showing me Your mercy each time I fall or make a mistake. I pray that You would continue to help me grow in this area of my life so that I can be an example of what Your love looks like. Amen. 

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