When misery meets mercy

“God does not nail us to our sin, does not identify us with the wrongs we have committed,” Pope Francis said on Sunday, March 13, 2016, as he explained the Gospel story of the adulterous woman’s encounter with Jesus (John 8:1-11). When we let Jesus empower our ability to love as he loves, we treat others with the same mercy.

When misery meets mercy - "God does not nail us to our sin"Sometimes our spouse or our adult children are the easiest to nail, the hardest to feel merciful toward. Those closest to us can hurt us more than others do, because we are more vulnerable with them. We need Jesus to enable us to be merciful.

Whether the sin is as huge as adultery or as minor as forgetting to say “thank you”, we are the face of mercy — the face of Christ. This is our calling; it’s the vocation of marriage.

When our interactions with our sweetheart make one or both of us feel miserable, healing and reconciliation come from remembering that our beloved’s sins have already been nailed to the cross upon which Jesus our Savior died. So, too, have our own sins been nailed to the cross. Therefore, when the Father sees us, he looks at us through the body of his Son on the cross. He knows that we have sinned, but he sees us much more deeply. He sees us as we really are — the child he created, the redeemed child who was made into the image of Christ during baptism. 

As Pope Francis said, “We have a name, and God does not identify this name with the sin we have committed.” What names come to mind when our beloved sins against us? Usually not very nice names, right? With God’s help, we can zip our mouths shut, repent of our merciless moment, and remember the true person underneath the sin — the person we fell in love with.

Reflection Questions:

  1. How much do I enjoy being merciful to my sweetheart? What does it feel like?
  2. When recently did my sweetheart treat me with mercy? 

Strengthen your relationship:
Describe to each other your understanding of “mercy”. How have you experienced mercy in your relationship? After sharing on this, pray together asking the Holy Spirit to help you become more aware of God’s mercy for you and to become more generous in giving mercy to others.

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© 2018 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries

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