The Intersection

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I had a message thoroughly prepared for you & I don’t know what happened this week, or who decided to come to The Ark today, but I believe with all my heart that God changed my message & is having me preach this message with you in mind today.
Of all the intersections of life & choices that come our way, I think one of the most important and frequent intersections we come to is the one between mercy and judgement.
Matthew 18:23–35 NKJV
Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
10,000 Talents is the equivalent of over $3.84 Billion Dollars
100 denarii is equivalent to about $5,800.
The interesting thing about this intersection is that it ONLY comes up when there has been a trespass of some kind.
We never need to make the decision between mercy and judgement if we never have a trespass against us.
Which way do you normally turn when you get to this intersection?
Do you dish out mercy, or do you dish out judgement?
Just like when you come to an intersection when you are driving, you should know which way you are going to turn BEFORE you get there.
God’s Word, the Bible, is like Wayz, or Apple/Google Maps, or Navigation for your heart - it tells us which way we should turn.
God is constantly dishing out mercy and wants us to turn towards mercy too.
Ephesians 2:4–5 NKJV
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
James 2:13 NKJV
For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Giving mercy, by definition (Strongs G1656), is exhibiting compassion.
The etymology of the word compassion is from Latin roots and means to “Suffer together”
Normally, when I would think about the word compassion, I would think of being kind to someone or trying to be soft and nice towards them, maybe even just simply shrugging off their behavior - but I rarely thought of developing understanding for them by suffering together with them.
Make up a really good story!
Luke 7:47 NKJV
Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
Our greatest tool of developing mercy & compassion is seeing how much mercy and compassion we ourself have received.
Hebrews 4:14–16 NKJV
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
God has great mercy & compassion for you!
If we are going to err at this intersection with others, may we always err on the side of mercy.

Just One Thing:

Would you receive the great mercy of God, today? Then, would you choose to always choose mercy when you come to the intersection of mercy & judgement with others and with yourself?

Discussion Questions:

Tea or Coffee? Hot or Iced? Share your preferences
What has been your typical response in situations of trespass - Mercy or Judgement? Share a little about that.
Please read Hebrews 4:14-16 and share about what this passage means to you and why it might be important in your ability to come to God with boldness.
How can you see your life & interactions changing if you decide to choose mercy over judgement in your personal interactions?
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