Letting the horse out of the barn
Choose: To make a choice, to select, or to be inclined toward some course of action. We all make choices each and every day - some much easier than others. If you have ever had one of those truly "bad hair days", when no matter what you do to make it look "good", it has a mind of its own - you know you may choose to just "go with it" or you douse your head with water under the tap and begin again! Both actions are within your control - what is not within your control is your hair! We often think we are the ones in control, but where it comes to God's mercy, only he is!
Because he said to Moses, “I will show mercy to whomever I choose to show mercy, and I will demonstrate compassion on whomever I choose to have compassion.” The point is that God’s mercy has nothing to do with our will or the things we pursue. It is completely up to God. (Romans 9:15-16 VOICE)
God will show mercy to whomever he chooses to show mercy. It is a really awesome thing he chooses to show mercy each and every time you and I need it! God's mercy truly does not have anything to do with how well we have performed before we need it, but solely upon God's heart of love toward us! Recently I allowed some words to come out of my mouth which I immediately regretted. One would think I would have thought before I spoke, because after all, it is what I am supposed to do. Truth be told, I wouldn't have said what I said had I not have been rehearsing those thoughts within my mind for quite some time. My choices to think upon those emotions and allow them to "brew" for a while gave way to my actions of allowing those words to be spoken in a not so nice manner.
There is a lesson for me in this moment of "indiscretion" - I am not always "in control" because I often allow things to spin out of control in my mind. There is no greater opportunity to stop a particular course of action than to have not allowed it to be considered in the first place! When we "consider" things long enough, eventually those things begin to "manifest" in our behavior (as my words did). Yes, the one those words were spoken to was hurt. Yes, she extended forgiveness. But, as my dad used to say...once the horse leaves the barn, there is no stopping the horse! We need God's help (his mercy) when the "horse" does leave the barn, but what we are more in need of is his grace to never let the horse into the barn in the first place!
God's mercy has nothing to do with what we pursue, or even our "will-power" to restrain ourselves from some sort of action. In fact, at best we "narrowly avoid collision" with the thing we were trying to avoid! God's greatest opportunity to reveal his mercy in our lives isn't when we fail to do as we should, but before we even consider the action in the first place. That may not make sense to some, but if you truly consider that God wants to extend his mercy by changing the way we contemplate (consider, think upon) things, or in plainer terms, what we allow into the "barn" which may eventually want out of the "barn", then we might just understand it. His mercy begins "before" the action manifests itself, but we have to be open to receive it sooner! Yes, grace "covers" our sin, but wouldn't it be better to have grace keep us from sinning in the first place? Just sayin!