Lk 15.1-3, 11-32
St John of Avila spoke these words: “No force can prevail with a Father like the tears of his child, nor is there anything which so moves God to grant us, not justice, but mercy, as our sorrow and self-accusation.”
Justice is God’s kindness that propels Him to treat people as they deserve; but mercy is that which makes Him deal with sinners better than they deserve, and even the opposite of that which they deserve . God delights in the exercise of mercy because of His kind nature. He delights to do good and to confer good. It delights him to bless, and he has no pleasure in punishment for its own sake. He deeply longs to forgive.
However, God’s tender mercy is also conditioned upon the willingness of the offender to return to Him in a posture of humility and repentance (Lk 15.21). His just nature demands that His laws of rights and wrongs should not be dishonoured. But as a Father, he awaits with a profound longing for the return of the offending child into his arms. Even for the “repeat offender”, the Father waits.
Reflection: How conscious are you of God’s standards of holiness? How convicted are you of the occasions in your life when you may have deliberately offended these standards? How may repentance be made visible in your life?
(Meditation above from Sherman)
I’m a sinner and I know it … and I’m not joking. Yes, the good news of Christ’s forgiveness is freeing. But the ongoing battles aren’t over yet. As for repentance being made visible … it doesn’t look very dramatic right now, slow and steady like fruits growing form a tree.