Luke 6:36. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Before you read this devotion let me say something right up front. I love my daughter-in-law and my son-in-law. Having said that, as a father, I know that most dads remain firmly convinced that the person who is marrying their child is nowhere near good enough.
That certainly was the position held by a father in Kolkata, India. Last week Reuters News Service carried a story about a father in that eastern Indian town who had, for more than a month, kept his son chained up in a small, shabby, squalid room. For more than a month the father had refused to release his son from the family imposed imprisonment.
And what was the son’s crime? Simply this: Raghu Amin had disobeyed his father and had publicly announced his marriage to an 18-year-old girl, a girl who was born into a poorer and lower class family. Police arrested the father and rescued Raghu from his month long imprisonment when the man’s young wife filed a complaint. The Reuters’ report said that the police were still looking for some village clergy (not Christian) whom they suspected had also been involved in the boy’s wrongful confinement.
Reading that story I found myself being thankful for two things. First, I am thankful that I don’t have to go to future reunions with the Raghu family. But I am also thankful that Christians have a heavenly Father who doesn’t treat us the way Raghu’s father treated him. It’s not that God doesn’t have high expectations for His children. He does. The Lord has said we are to be perfect as He is perfect (Genesis 17:1). But when His children aren’t perfect, when we disobey Him, when we sin, and when we fall short of God’s expectations, He doesn’t chain us up and lock us away. If He did that most of us would spend our lives in perpetual imprisonment.
Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, assures us that we have a heavenly Father who is merciful. While God expects great things of His children, He also knows that we are sinners. So that we might be forgiven of our sins and shortcomings, He sent His Son into this world to bear the punishment that we deserved. So we might be truly free, Jesus was bound, unfairly tried, condemned and crucified. The Savior’s resurrection says that we are now free from sin, death and devil, free to live a life of thanksgiving to glorify our Father, and free to be merciful as our God is merciful. To be merciful, that is or challenge for today, and for everyday.
HE PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, I give thanks that Jesus’ sacrifice has freed us from the shackles of sin. May we, as recipients of your undeserved mercy, live our lives in thanksgiving and Christian compassion to those around us. In your Son’s name I pray it, Amen.