Faithlife Sermons

If God is Merciful why am I overwhelmed?

Logically Speaking  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Playground Games

Mercy is a concept that can be easily understood from the old playground game…(talk about different games you used to play as a kid)
Whichever game of choice you played as a kid there were always at least two people involved and in the end one of those two was going to be the one that had to give up, quit, or in the game of mercy ask for mercy.
Matthew 18:23-
Matthew 18:21–35 HCSB
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven. For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began to settle accounts, one who owed 10,000 talents was brought before him. Since he had no way to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt. “At this, the slave fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything!’ Then the master of that slave had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan. “But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him 100 denarii. He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe!’ “At this, his fellow slave fell down and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he wasn’t willing. On the contrary, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed. When the other slaves saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened. “Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And his master got angry and handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed. So My heavenly Father will also do to you if each of you does not forgive his brother from his heart.”

It’s all a big misunderstanding

Life is hard. Things come at us in life all the time. It would be great if it was always good things that came our way, but we all know that isn’t always the case. There are times in our lives where we don’t think we can possibly handle one more thing. It is in those times that we make choices about so many important things in our life relationships with others, relationships with God, actions we are going to take, the way we are going to feel about certain events, and people and places. It’s also a time when well meaning people begin to open their mouth and dispense any number of nuggets of wisdom, one of the worst of those well meaning people can be Christians attempting to comfort and encourage people. God won’t give you anything you can’t handle is one of the biggest lies Christians tell each other and people who are searching. It sounds great, even kinda like something that God would say but where does it come from?
1 Corinthians 10:13 HCSB
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.
The differences are striking. The Bible isn’t talking about difficult times here. It’s not talking about us feeling overwhelmed, it’s not saying we can get out of the consequences for choices we made. It has nothing to do with any of the things we apply it too. It talks about a very specific situation, being tempted to do the wrong thing…God says he knows we are going to be given chance after chance to make the wrong choice, to fail and fall…but He will always make a space for us to walk away from that bad choice, he will always be there to pick us up when we fall, and will do that over and over. This set of verses has nothing to do with me feeling overwhelmed, and everything to do with a Merciful God who is more than a little bit willing to reach to us, to not hold our past against us, and to promise to help us as we live and move and have our being in him.

I just can’t take any more

So why do we get so overwhelmed and why does God let it happen? This is where that Parable we read earlier comes into play.
We have a guy that is in the same boat as many of us. Overwhelmed. That feeling comes in the form of a huge debt, that he has no hope of paying. (sound familiar?) He is called to settle up with his master. A few things to realize as we read the parable.

· He’s a slave

· He has no possible way of paying

· His overwhelming circumstances will effect more than just him.

· At rock bottom he has no problem embarrassing himself.

· Mercy is easily accepted…

· Mercy is not so easily given…

The master didn’t cause the first slave to go into debt, we don’t know the circumstances of the debt. We just know the consequences, we see the mercy given and we think how amazing it would be. Imagine if that thing that is burying you that issue that keeps growing that keeps getting more and more unmanageable is suddenly resolved. If the plea for mercy we answered with that mercy. Amazing. We find this happening in the beginning of the story and we cheer.

Just Breathe

When we feel overwhelmed it is always best to just breath…deep breaths…they call it the deep clensing breath…(dive training)
How do we just breath spritually though…It’s all about Forgiveness....

1. Forgiveness from God…

a. The mercies of God are new every morning. God looking at humanities failings, at them actively choosing to step away from him. Rejecting that one who made them, and not holding it against them but making a way for that relationship to be fixed. Looking at us as sons and daughters because of the work that Jesus did. The picture of Mercy is seen when we understand that we are not going to have to pay the debt that we owe. Instead the debt is forgiven, the problems and issues and hardships can be shared with Christ. Thy won’t go away, but they can be born a bit better when we choose to ask for help. When we are willing to step out of our comfort zone and admit to God that we are overwhelmed. When we begin to actively engage a relationship with God that may have become passive. Mercy is all about forgiveness. Accepting the forgiveness of God but it doesn’t stop there.

2. Forgiveness of Self…

a. This is one of the hardest things that people looking for mercy have to do. Both the Old and New Testament have examples of what real forgiveness is, of what real forgiveness looks like, and how hard it is for us to accept it even when it’s given. For some reason we have a harder time accepting forgiveness than God has offering it. Mercy is hard to keep front and center when we constantly attempt to remind God of how bad we are, when we decide that we need to make ourselves worthy. We like the idea of a merciful God that sees us through the person and work of Jesus, that grants us mercy even when we are in the middle of a mess, but in practice we really can’t accept it. Because we know how we are, which brings us to the final piece of the puzzle, of why we feel so overwhelmed even when mercy is freely available.

3. Forgiveness for others…

a. We know how much of a grudge we hold, and in our personification of God think he is like us, unwilling to forgive. We like to see the slave that threw his fellow slave into jail for the small amount of money as evil, but we are so often the same. Every time we put conditions on our willingness to forgive we are being like that first slave. Every time we tell people they have to do things a certain way, or be like us, or meet a certain set of criteria before they can start a relationship with Us and with God we are being like that first servant. Every time we set the standard for what mercy is and who deserves that mercy we are being like that first servant, and every time we do that we are placing ourselves in the position of God...

This Week’s Challenge

1. Stop telling God what he can and can’t do
2. Stop pushing His spirit out of your life so you can Handle it yourself.
3. Look for chances to share God’s plan of love grace and mercy with others, not your plan.
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