and we all should be grateful for that because if God were of mind to practice strict justice with humanity, with us, “Who” as the Psalmist would say “could stand?”
But why is God merciful? One reason, among the others, has been on my mind.
God extends mercy to us so that we have the potential to return to him. Our brokenness is so deep that God, in love realizing that the strictest form of holy response to our numerous sins, struggles, and failings would be our eternal undoing, gives us time, time to come to ourselves, time to come to him, time to turn from the various sins which challenge us, and time to have some beginning, at least, to heal.
When Jesus encountered the woman who committed adultery he refused to join in with those who were seeking immediate justice and retribution for what she had done, even though he, being without sin, could really have been the first to throw the executioner’s stones at her. Instead he told her two things. First, he was not going to be like those who were ready to condemn her to death and, second, he was giving her the gift of mercy, the gift of time to “Go and sin no more…”
I suppose it is possible, when we really think about it, that God has given each of in our lives more mercy than we could ever imagine or measure, more times when He chose to stay the immediate implementation of righteous judgment in favor of granting each us broken and fallible people the chance, the time, and the potential, to realize our lost state and find our way home.
Without this great gift where would I be? Where would any of us be?