“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” -Micah 7:18 (NIV)
Mercy and forgiveness are just as embedded in the character of God as His righteousness and justice. In His perfect holiness, God has no tolerance for sin. Therefore, He allows the consequences of man’s sinful choices to come to pass. However, He does not do this out of spite, but only so that we may realize the destruction that wickedness causes in our lives. God does not take pleasure in inflicting suffering upon us. On the contrary, it grieves Him whenever He must use the rod of correction. Sin in our lives has separated us from God. This was not part of His perfect will. Man was meant to live in a fulfilling relationship with God, finding lasting peace, hope, and worth in Him and His eternal love. Throughout Scripture, we see God extending the hand of mercy and forgiveness toward humanity, the greatest example of which was the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins so that we may be reconciled to Him.
What is most beautiful about His gift of salvation to humanity is that we are not deserving of it. Man continues to reject God by his attitudes and lifestyles, thereby rebelling against what He, in His divine wisdom, has ordained for humanity. Yet God does not withhold the gift of Christ because of our rebellion. He seeks to redeem us from the ravages of sin, and knows that we are unable to attain His righteousness on our own strength or wisdom. For this reason, He sent Christ so that, through Him, we are forgiven. The debt of our sin is paid by His blood. When we personally accept Christ’s redemptive sacrifice and allow Him to work within our hearts, we enter into a restored relationship with Him and partake in the abundant life we have in Him. As children of Christ, we are called to bear witness to the mercy and love He has shown to us by displaying these attributes to all whom God places along our path. Only by submitting ourselves to the will of Christ and permitting Him to take control of our thoughts, words, and actions will we be able to show the unconditional grace and forgiveness of Christ; drawing others to the hope which is available through Him.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.