January 23, 2022

Offer Mercy, Not Judgement

A man came off the street into my study one day, having asked to “see the preacher.” His appearance was so bad I did not ask him to sit down. His smell was unsettling and I was busy with “church work.” Impatiently I asked, “Can I help you?” His reply was not what I expected.

“Pastor,” he said wearily, “I hope you can. I am not here to ask for money or food or a place to stay. I can sleep in my old car again tonight. What I need is hope. I am at the end of my rope. I am willing to work if I can find a job. I am desperate to find someone who will believe in me, trust me, and help me make a new start.”

The man seemed so genuine that I asked him to sit down. We talked for an hour and I prayed with him, asking the Lord to give him hope for a new life. I found him a place to spend the night, made a few phone calls and found him a job. Given a chance, he began to earn his keep and slowly made a comeback. We stayed in touch and within a few years the man had become a respected member of the community and a devout Christian.

Four years after his first visit, he came to see me again. He recalled the day we first talked. “That day,” he said, “I was so distraught that I had decided to kill myself if you had turned me away, as so many others had already done. But you saved my life by taking an interest in me. You gave me the hope to hold on for another day. And God helped me to make a new life for myself.” Then he embraced me with a hug I have never forgotten.

My experience with that man led me to reflect on the many times I had failed to offer mercy to strangers who smelled like he did. I thanked God for opening my eyes and asked forgiveness for the times I had offered judgment instead of mercy to people who needed hope more than a handout.

I began to understand better what Saint Paul meant when he said to his Christian friends in Rome, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” This verse, Romans 15:7, is translated in several ways. Another says, “Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Yet another, “Receive one another, then, as Christ has received you.”

How does Christ accept, or welcome, or receive me? He offers me mercy! Not condemnation or judgment! When Christ opens His arms to receive me, saying “Come to me,” he is offering me mercy that is clothed in hope for my future.

So how can I reduce the strife in our society, the strife that robs us of the harmony and civility we so desperately need? By offering my brothers and sisters, in the living of these days, mercy, not judgment. So shall we find our way to live together in peace. + + +


A Friend’s Kind Remarks About this book:

Walter, thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this book so soon after losing your precious Dean. Struggling With Grief, Finding Peace was written for me and several of my close friends that have recently lost their mates. I read this book slowly, allowing myself to read and absorb one chapter per night and didn’t want to get to the end.

My husband Herman has been gone since June 22, 2021. We had been married 61 years as of June 4, 2021. My deep grief has caught me somewhat by surprise. I thought since he had been sick so long, and I had grieved for years, that I wouldn’t struggle as I have. The finality was so harsh. Although I know without a doubt Herman is with Jesus, I just miss him so! Your book helped me with this struggle; I saw myself on almost every page.

I too have a good support group that I am thankful for and it has taken a while to find my place and to know what God wants me to do with my life now. Your book has so encouraged me to keep on keeping on. The Lord has begun revealing His plan for me and I have hope for the first time in a long time. I, like you, was so absorbed with my grief that I overlooked Carol’s grief for her dad. Thank you for including that in your book; it certainly opened my eyes to her hurts.

I immediately ordered 4 more books and have given them to my friends that are grieving. One special friend is struggling so with her grief for her husband and your book truly ministered to her. She is a wonderful Christian, just overcome with grief. Thank you for taking your time to read this long message but I wanted you to know how much your book has meant to me in my journey through grief. I’m praying for you and please continue to write!

Love in Christ, Becky Stillwell

ANY TIME is a great time to give someone a good book!