The Most Powerful Ministry of Our Times

We prepare for life’s major devastations – disappointment, divorce, disease, disaster, death.

We anticipate news of powerful men and women given over to corruption, robbers, rapists, thieves, liars, and murderers. All are antithetical to God, in opposition to His truth and yet their existence proves our need for Him.

Strange that we can almost endure these prime evils –nearly forge a path to sanity past these horrors because we brace for their existence and know their days will end.

It’s the personal cruelties that break our hearts. It’s intimate unkindness, cozy deception, bosom betrayals that wear us down and leave us longing for the end of days.

A caretaker ignoring the cries of a patient because she doesn’t feel like dealing with the mess during her shift.

A father who, angry with a wife who has left him, tells a little boy who adores him that the child’s a loser and he wishes the boy had never been born.

Young men who take advantage of desperate girls and then make public their indiscretions.

Women who perfect the art of speaking unkind words to other women, all the while smiling and pouring tea.

Young women who hand the “nerdy” boy a fake phone number, then mock them for thinking they had a chance.

A husband suggesting a wife is undesirable because of her size. A wife belittling her husband for the size of his paycheck. A grown child only showing up when they need just a small loan or wondering aloud what their inheritance might be.

An addict denying, despite a partner or parents’ evidence, that they’ve relapsed – feigning hurt and projecting failure on the faithful one.

Shepherds who hide behind trusting sheep when their congregation comes under fire.

And playing out in the headlines of our times are a thousand evils compounded by the revelations of intimate cruelties. I’ve always been a fan of satire, but these days my television remains mostly off because I’m weary of the mocking where no one is safe – not children, not victims, not the innocent, not bystanders.

As if our country has chosen to languish forever in the lunch room of our combined junior highs and never rise above or mature past the phase when adolescents use unkindness and the lowest denominator to define their social construct.

If nothing else, it’s safe to say we must now all concede that the church doesn’t own a monopoly on self-righteousness. Apparently, it’s something to which many subscribe along with Netflix and Amazon Prime.

We live in days where almost everything can be obtained with the single computer click – everything, that is, but mercy. As if mercy has been discontinued along with rotary phones and analog clocks. No one is producing it any longer because the market disappeared and it’s only to be found in museums or occasionally at the Good Will.

How can we not believe the Bible now? “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV

It’s time, perhaps, to replace the eagle as our national bird with the ostrich, for perhaps she is a more fitting representation of our majority: “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, but are they the pinions and plumage of love? For she leaves her eggs to the earth and lets them be warmed on the ground, forgetting that a foot may crush them and that the wild beast may trample them. She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers; though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear, because God has made her forget wisdom and given her no share in understanding. When she rouses herself to flee, she laughs at the horse and his rider. Job 39:13-18 ESV

The most powerful ministry of our times is to refuse to join the mockers and the scoffers, and to engage, instead, in the ministry of mercy.

It won’t win us friends. We’re going to look like fools. But, to be students of mercy is to follow Jesus’ command and to add to the light of these times, rather than the darkness.

“And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13

We don’t need any greater platform for this ministry of mercy than our daily lives. By exercising mercy, we join the true resistance. We live as revolutionaries simply by exhibiting relentless kindness, mercy, forgiveness, and love in the face of cruel days.

Abandon self-righteousness – which is no righteousness at all – and let us steel our resolve to soften our hearts, to offer what we are not likely to receive in return – for this is the way of the cross.

When mercy goes missing, it isn’t truth that rules, but deception. Mercy and truth find their genesis in Christ. To compromise either is to aid and abet the enemy.

Reject cruelty in our conversations and refuse to pass judgement even on people who appear only on our television screens. Just as public figures have their secrets made public in the New York Times, so the ways we conduct our private lives will be made known either in this world or the next.

Mercy matters.

It matters because our God is a God of relentless mercy and we represent Him on this outpost of glory.

Don’t allow the spirit of this age to erode your hope, or heart. Let us freely give what is promised us to receive – let mercy be found in us.

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8 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Gerhard Papenfus says:

    This is PROFOUND!! Amen!! Thank you Lori!!

  2. Jerry Crawford says:

    Seriously? Just read about 15 comments on the # Kavanaugh Hearings. If those media infused comments are posted by you I guess I may have misjudged who you are.

    • I only see two comments here, Jerry. I haven’t commented anywhere, so not sure to what you are referring. I am me on this website. No secret agenda.

      • Anonymous says:

        I was referring to the link listed at the bottom of your post (#Kavanaugh Hearings). Not being all that experienced in social media, I assumed that links from your page were there with your knowledge. As a prolife activist I have first hand experience with politically motivated smear campaigns and know what to look for in determining the most likely truth.

        • Jerry, I used Kavenaugh Hearings as a tag and a key word on this post because the scoffing and mocking and unkindness toward all personalities involved contributed to my concern that we have a merciless society. I haven’t posted any links nor have I posted my opinions. I am a woman but I feel perhaps you are making assumptions about me based on my biology and not on what I write or have written.

          • Anonymous says:

            My heartfelt apology for my own ignorance. I have been following your blogs for many years and have often forwarded them to my sphere of influence. I have since looked at the other links and realize that they are not endorsed by you. I did not assume any position to you based on gender, in fact, I follow your posts because you have discernment that reaches the heart of the matter despite appearances. Thank you – still on board!

  3. Diane McElwain says:

    Powerful words today. Thank you.

  4. Kim says:

    This is how I want to live.