Your goals during Mercy Season, August 7 - October 7
1) Becoming a forgiveness agent
2) Preparing for the Day of Atonement on October 7th
The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) was and is the holiest day of the year for the Jews, the only day when the High Priest would go into the inner sanctum of the Temple and renew the atoning blood on the Ark of the Covenant. In SYNC we celebrate the Day of Atonement in memory of the final sacrifice for our sin, which Jesus performed by presenting his own blood in the Temple in heaven (Hebrews 9.11-15).
We prepare for the day by clearing our slate of all grudges, bitterness, and desire for revenge. Only when we forgive others are we able to celebrate Christ's atonement with integrity.
How do you get God's mercy to change you at a deep level inside and to work through you for the good of others? How do you "move with the Mercy rhythm"?
For starters, repeat the three following things often:
1. We are God's forgiveness agents, forgiving others as he has forgiven us.
When you SYNC (See Yourself iN Christ), this is one of the things you see. Jesus was the center of the God's strategy to bring mercy from heaven to earth. If you are "in Christ," he forgives your sins, large and small. When that hits you, it changes you in ways you cannot change yourself. You get so grateful that you turn generous, and you forgive what others have done to you, no matter how large or small it was.
2. This is a Day of Atonement, and we have mercy.
We call this the "Mercy Declaration." As a person in SYNC with Jesus, you are authorized to declare this, so use your authority. Shape your world. Make your day by repeating this.
Be sure to notice that "we have mercy" does not necessarily mean "we feel merciful." It means we are not going to make the other person pay for what they did to us.
We "have mercy" now because we received it, and we also "have mercy" on others. We are in SYNC with the mercy of Jesus, doing what his mercy does.
3. Make us a channel of your mercy, Lord. We'll forgive. We'll forgive. We'll forgive.
This is the "Mercy Prayer" that SYNCs us with the Declaration. We welcome the mercy that Jesus wants to put into us so we can play our part in his mission. That is how we get our significance. We are his forgiveness agents, and that's what people need in order to be healed and move on.
Why do these three statements work?
Because they clue us in to God's strategy to make his mercy work for the good of the whole world, and they sign us up to become part of his strategy.
Jesus Christ is the center of God's strategy to use his mercy. If we see ourselves in Christ, we see ourselves as linked to his counter-intuitive strategy, which from a human point of view seems sure to fail.
Human thinking wants to make people pay for the wrong they do, except maybe for some small things we decide to kindly overlook. They deserve to pay for the serious wrongs. Give them the penalty they deserve. Stand up for yourself. Teach them a lesson. If you forgive them, they will do it to you again next time.
But God is moving to a different rhythm, the Mercy rhythm, even when the deed is as unspeakable as mocking, whipping, and executing his Son Jesus, and even before the evildoers realize they need forgiveness. Jesus prayed from the cross, "Father, forgive them. They don't know what they are doing." (Luke 23.24)
Jesus was not giving them permission to beat and crucify him again, and he certainly was not saying it was just a small mistake he was willing to overlook. No! He was creating an opportunity for them to realize what they had done and to renounce it.
And that is where we come in. We are the early adopters of the change God wants the whole world to make. We are the people who have renounced all opposition to God's strategy to change the world through Jesus and his sacrifice. We welcome the mercy and the forgiveness.
We let mercy sweep over us and make new people out of us, forgiven people, people who are not covering things up and not living in shame about them any more. We are people who have discovered that God's mercy deals with all those things once and for all. We never have to go back to those old ways.
We get to move on in Christ. We take on a share in his mission, spreading his mercy to other people who don't get it yet. The world need the message of forgiveness in Christ, and we are the agents who bring it and demonstrate what it does to people.
Bible verses behind these three statements
Key Mercy verse in the New Testament
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Mt. 6.14-15 (NLT)
Key Mercy verse in the Old Testament
"But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed." Is. 53.5 (NLT)
The "5G" flow that is behind these three statements
The final "Day of Atonement" was the day Jesus presented his own atoning blood in the heavenly Temple, then sat down on his throne. That act is the game-changer that is the basis of the Mercy Rhythm.
The gift we get as a result is mercy, and that equips us to participate in Jesus' mission in the "grace period" between his sacrifice and his return in glory.
If we "get it," if we understand God's game-changer and the gift of mercy, that is the "Ah-hah moment" when something inside us changes.
Go with it
After that, the only thing to do is to "Go with it," living out what God has done inside us. We become God's mercy agents on earth, working in SYNC with strategy.
We find our authentic identity in Christ because of his mercy. We are 100% genuine people, not having to fake anything or hide anything any more. The blood of Christ has exposed it all and taken care of it all! We become part of God's strategy to heal the world by giving it the mercy it does not deserve.