Lenten Reader | Day 28


To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

- Luke 18:9-14
I have a plaque in my office that says, “Grace is something God gives us that we don’t deserve, and Mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve.”

Mistakes are inevitable, and we ALL make them. There is no greater comfort than knowing no matter how I have failed, God’s mercy overcomes.
We are called to Love God, Love People. We love them in their messes, just as God loves us in our messes.

I love delivering beds with the Bed Brigade! We are able to meet not only a physical need but also a spiritual one. To listen, love. and give. No prerequisites, no questions. A wrong decision, a health set back, any number of things could have happened in my life and placed me in their same position.

When dealing with an old sin, I went to the Lord and I heard, “look up child. I took a beating for you. You are not meant to stay here, stuck. You have freedom, you have forgiveness.” He calls me, he calls you, to go and share with others. We weren’t created to stay in a pit of shame, fear, failure or whatever that pit looks like for you. He died on a cross and rose again so that we may have eternal life. It doesn’t matter where we’ve been, what we’ve said or done. He is always waiting there with open arms and loving us no matter what. We are ALL God’s children. Whether or not we agree with what someone else is doing, they are still his child just the same as you and me. We don’t always know their story, and everyone has one. We are called to meet them right where they are, to love them, share his truth, and show mercy.

A prayer for today: God help me to reach out to others as you have reached out to me. Give me your eyes to see them and your heart to love them. Lead me to opportunities to show others your love and mercy. Amen.

-Gwen Thomas