I have never thought of myself as being a overly merciful person. It isn't that I want judgement or death to befall people, not at all.
I had always just thought of myself as one who stood up for Justice more than Mercy.
As a Christian, I had never really made that statement out loud before, always just believing it, never really thinking about it. Otherwise I would have realized the error in it much sooner.
Those two are not in contradiction to one another. With Justice there can be Mercy, and with Mercy, Justice can still be upheld.
It isn't one or the other, it is both/and.
So, back to my false mindset. By the way, another word for a false mindset is.......stronghold. I discovered this stronghold when I was talking with my husband. I had taken a personality test and it asked a very interesting question. It asked:
Do you tend to lean toward Justice or Mercy?
I know myself to be a rule keeper/rule maker, so I picked Justice, even though I know in my head I love Mercy too.
Then my husband said that you can't have Justice without Mercy - and vice versa. The Lord is a 'Just' God, and He is full of 'Mercy'. The Old Testament is full of examples of these two.
So, it got me to thinking and I asked the Lord. Am I really merciful?
Apparently I didn't think too hard about it though, because I quickly forgot that I had asked the Lord that question. Until He answered my question.
Over three months after taking that first personality test my husband offers for me to take a Spiritual Giftings test. Like a personality test, but focused on what your Spiritual gifts are.
I was shocked to find myself fitting very much into the Mercy gift, as well as the Giver gift. It was a shock because I had already, unconsciously, written myself off as 'not overly merciful'. Remember, strongholds are hard to move because someone strong holds them, I decided that the test must be wrong and that I was really only a Giver.
Then today, as I talked with the Lord randomly about something else before a meeting I was attending, I heard the Lord say, "you have Mercy."
I thought I must have heard wrong.
"You have mercy, why do you doubt it?" I heard the Lord say again.
I threw up several examples of times I had not shown mercy to my children/husband/family.
His response - He reminded me of several examples where I had shown great mercy to complete strangers.
I said, "Well, I am merciful to strangers, but not to my family. The way that I am to my family is really how I am."
I heard the Lord say 'No.'
He showed me that I am capable of great mercy toward people, even going out of my way to extend mercy to friends and people in need. I will share my 'dirty laundry' with almost anyone, if I am able to show them that there is hope for themselves.
So I asked the Lord why I am not always that way with my family. He said, "It is simply an area of weakness and immaturity."
That was profound. It isn't that I lack mercy at all! I have lots of mercy, and I know how to show it, I just struggle sometimes to show it to those nearest to me.
It isn't even that I am terribly unmerciful to my family. I am very merciful, but I had somehow locked in on to the few times that I have been obviously unmerciful and put those memories on repeat, until the point that I believed that I was not a merciful person.
What a lie of the enemy! What a stronghold!
Why is it that we take the 10% of our life experience and let it be the rule instead of the exception.
For example: I once was in a group of women, and one woman out of five didn't like me. I was so rocked by that one woman not liking me. I was so worried for a while that I was not really a likable person. I believed that one lady's opinion of me over the other 4 in the group, and over the opinion of my dozens of other friends.
Why is that? I don't know, but I do know this. It is a lie, and if we choose to believe it, then it can become a stronghold. My stronghold was to the point that I didn't really believe that I was a merciful person. When in fact, that is where I placed highest on the Spiritual gifts test!
Isn't that just like the enemy. Trying to blind me to one of my most natural gifts. Now that I am aware, I have taken it into my head and my hand, that mercy will be a new weapon that I will learn to hone for the Glory of the Lord.
So Lord, teach me to wield it against the lies of the enemy for the sake of those I encounter; not only to strangers, but to those most nearest and dearest to me. Amen!