Christ is full of infinite mercy. His ways are of love. But for love to be real and truly a verb, it is demonstrated in His mercy. On the cross, at death’s doorstep, He forgave. He forgave His persecutors and executioners. He forgave His disciples, for failing him multiple times. He even seeks them out after his resurrection. He didn’t say, “Forget you, you losers! You betrayed me, denied me, and now I turn away from you….” He would have been justified; they disappeared, retreated, cowered in fear.
As Easter approaches I am reminded that the ultimate testament to the power of Christ is in His resurrection. He foretold of His death and resurrection. Many relegate Christ to be “just another Prophet.” It’s easier to deal with Him in these terms. The ego doesn’t want to have to deal with a resurrection. That’s harder to understand. It requires us to surrender the need to conquer and control. The things we cannot wrap our pea brains around, are relegated to fiction. Only things we can categorize and define, place us in the familiar territory of being in control, and feeling powerful. This we are “comfortable” with. Anything other than what we ourselves are, is inconceivable. It requires us to take the leap of faith to invite the possibility that something exists that is far beyond our total comprehension.
Do we believe God is something we can fathom, much less contain with our limited human means? Christ being the physical manifestation of God— to roam the earth living the human condition— makes many uncomfortable. It made many uncomfortable and fearful in His day, so much so that they persecuted Him and stopped at nothing short of executing Him. Fear persecutes. Ego persecutes. Ignorance persecutes. All of these things are still in existence today. I dare say that if Christ had been born in these present times, He would have met the same outcome.
There was and is a ‘perceived’ chasm between us and God. We look to God as something beyond our reach. Christ is God’s gift to us, to fill the perceived chasm. Christ’s teachings and demonstrations make it possible for us to understand what God’s mercy looks like— What God’s love is. Making it possible for us to see that God wants a personal relationship with each one of us. This is demonstrated by His desire to experience how we, His human children, experience sorrow, grief, fear, and even joy. God wants to get so close to us, that He undertook a transformation to get a closer look at the human plight, from the human perspective. And in the process gave us a closer look at the depths of His love.
How else would we ever know forgiveness, mercy and grace granted to us at supernatural levels? To have it played out by Christ, time and time again, we saw the depths of how our Father loves us.
One example of Christ’s mercy is how he interceded in the stoning of a woman caught in the act of adultery. (As an aside, it’s assumed the man also partaking in this adultery was not meeting the same fate. But that’s another story of inequities in any male ego driven culture) It was the law of the land, as it still is in many places today, to stone. Christ responded, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
If Christ would have instead said, “Look within to find the right answer,” I dare say the Pharisees would have still found stoning was in order. Inside us are the human shortcomings that fill our heads and hearts. There are many competing voices inside us that contain cultural, gender, and experiential biases. What we have been exposed to is all we know. Experience alone limits us. With more education, it may broaden our sphere of knowledge, but still we cannot know all. There will always be solutions we cannot see through our human eyes alone.
God is within us, but we often drown out His voice with our own egos. So merely looking within is inadequate. It sets us up to separate ourselves from God. When we look to ourselves we have limited ourselves from the start, since our human self is flawed and limited—though our ego would beg to differ. What’s within is what brought us to the plight we find ourselves in. It’s like the adage, “drinking your own bath water.” To bring about better outcomes means to open ourselves up beyond what we have contained inside us.
Life is breathed into us from something larger than human abilities and does not begin by way of our will alone. It is all through the power of our Heavenly Creator. Therefore, the intelligence that creates us, wants our ultimate good, and yet we spend the rest of our lives separating ourselves from Him. Our egos whisper to us to go “within” to find answers. Our unhappiness and solitude come from our separation. It is the “within” naturally left up to it’s own human devices, not allowing God in, that separates us. Ego lies and tells us that “within” is sufficient for all the answers. However, nothing unto itself is sufficient, unless it is God. When we seek Him we will find Him. We must look to God for guidance, to open our minds and hearts to see other options for our lives that are in His Will for us.
In the stoning event told in the Bible, this is where Christ stepped in and introduced the way of mercy. Mercy was not inside the Pharisees. They would not have pulled out mercy if asked to “look within.” However, inviting Christ to the decision process enlightened them with another option other than stoning. Without Christ, we are barbarians. Left up to our own devices, humanity has proven time and time again— history repeatedly bears this out— that we will choose to protect our egos, instead of to love.
There’s a second important part to this story. Christ continued:
“When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, 'Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?' ”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”— John 8:9-11 (New living translation)
Christ has forgiven her, and now wipes the slate so she may begin anew. But His expectation is that she will be accountable for her decision to sin no more. Christ always makes room for us to renew and start all over.
Easter is a time to reflect on our Heavenly Father’s forgiveness and mercy.
I stop to consider just how large Christ’s love is for every one of us. Ultimate forgiveness and mercy is demonstrated on the cross that somber day over 2,000 years ago. Only a supernatural being could withstand the extremities of inhumanity waged mercilessly upon Him, as he is taunted, humiliated and violently mutilated. Naked, nailed to a cross, a lance lunged into his chest, as freely as blood pours forth, he pours out forgiveness and mercy for his murderers.
How do I show mercy?
Only love in its purest form can suffer through all this and still choose to love. God resurrects Christ to spread the good news. After suffering the ultimate barbaric acts of victimization that human beings have the capacity to perform, he resurrects in 3 days. He could have said, “Forget you all, you animals! You don’t deserve to know of my Father’s wonders and love!” And then stayed dead. End of story.
But the beauty of Easter is that the resurrection is the beginning of the story. It is from the resurrected Christ that we see the depths of God’s love for us. He didn’t end it with the crucifiction. It acts as the ultimate visualization of the depths our God will go, fall victim under his own creation’s hate, and still pour forth love. Not keep the good news from us, instead, gives us the gift of the resurrection.
Every day we have the power of resurrection, as we choose to leave behind our old ways, and instead choose to walk like a new creation, with our Father. And that is indeed Good news!
May this Easter God show you how His mercy and love are revealed in your life.
Copyright © 2012 Ella Venezia. All Rights Reserved.