When we hear about a 7.5 earthquake in Afghanistan, we don’t say with cold detachment, “Another fulfillment of prophecy.” These are real people that died, members of families—fathers, mothers, siblings, friends. It just changed the landscape of their life. God is not chalking it up on His countdown list. He is moved by misery. His heart breaks for the broken. The reason He has not sent His Son back yet is that He wants more children in the family (2 Peter 3:9)—from every tribe, tongue and nation, including Afghanistan. A heart of mercy, not of a statistician, reflects our Father in heaven, who is consistently “kind to the ungrateful and the selfish.” It was His Son who said in this context, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35,36). Merciful people suffer when others suffer.

Knowing there will be “wars and rumors of wars,” we still ache for the casualties, those fleeing without belongings and sometimes without families. What are children on the run to do whose parents were just killed? Mercy.

We don’t argue against the doctrine of those who throw their babies in the river to appease an angry and detached deity not worth loving. We try to measure their loss and pray for changed hearts. We allow ourselves to feel. He looks for people who will properly represent Him, because others have unknowingly embraced Him as a monster. He is not—He’s a Father who feels pain. Check out Judges 10:16.

Our first response to the LGBT community is to feel sorry that they have lost their identity and pray that it can be restored. We don’t judge them for their lifestyle. We don’t expect those outside of Christ to understand or to live like Christians, and we thank God that some are in Christ and have a greater potential for seeing their true identity restored. We don’t slide into legalism by giving people whose lifestyle disgusts us a rulebook and expect them to play by it. They have no power without Jesus on the inside. That is our mandate. Better to let our light shine than to expose their darkness and call for judgment.

If you are quick to rant and slow to love, you are not showing a needy world that you are an exile with a visitor’s visa. You are miscommunicating the gospel of God’s grace through Jesus Christ and you are living as if you are here to stay. You’re not!

As I write this blog, I find myself judging people who judge people. That will do fine for a sin. I have reacted with anger to the self-righteous elder brother type, (which I once was), intolerant toward his brother and father. Meanwhile, the dad said to the older son, “You are always with me [such a statement of belonging to someone who didn’t want to belong] and all that is mine is yours.” How generous can you get, and with a hypocrite. Don’t you want to echo that kind of double-edged mercy, first forgiving the pagan prodigal, then receiving the religious brother? “I need Thee, Oh I need thee. Every hour I need Thee.”

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