Mercy is not Strained

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"The quality of mercy is not strained; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath." (William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice)

I am a HUGE fan of William Shakespeare. Just ask my mom. She took me to Shakespeare in the Park in Boulder, Colorado when I was two or three years old and I sat there completely engaged and focused on the play the entire time. Love the Bard! ;-)

Anyway, this quote from Shakespeare basically means that mercy should be freely given and is not "forced". Seems to me that this thought is very much like the Mercy and Forgiveness that God showers upon us at all times. It is always there - just waiting for us to partake of it - it's not forced. It is a gift and a blessing because of God's love for us.

Thing is, we are not always able to actually receive this amazing gift of love. In many of the world's religions God tells us how much He loves us, but he also says that unless we love Him, His love cannot reach us. To me, this is an extremely important concept to take under advisement.

Think about it. How often are we caught up in our own affairs and completely forgetful of God? Or how many times are we so overwhelmed by the trials and tribulations of this life that we turn our backs on Him? Or we just aren't interested in what He has to say and live our lives without heeding the wisdom that He provided for us. Maybe we're just scared to trust Him completely because we've been hurt in the past.

So we put up barriers between ourselves and God that we feel protect us from getting hurt, when in reality they inhibit our ability to receive his Grace and Love. It is like the umbrellas at the top of this post, warding off the rain and keeping us from getting wet. If you took it as a metaphor, then all those people protecting themselves(w/umbrellas) are actually depriving themselves of receiving God's love(rain).

So I say leave those umbrellas at home and let yourself get drenched! It takes trust, it takes focus, it takes faith, it takes dedication, but it is well worth it. Remember, that the only way His love will be able to reach you is when you show your love for Him. God's love for us is always right there, unconditional and all-encompassing, just waiting for us to love Him back so we can actually tap into it and receive the amazing blessing that His love will bring to our lives.

Below are some very brief posts from a handful of world religions on this concept. Please share your thoughts and quotes as well. Happy Sunday everyone!

Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant."(Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

"I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me."(King James Bible, Proverbs 8:17)

"Say, 'If ye would love God then follow me, and God will love you and forgive you your sins, for God is forgiving and merciful.'"(The Qur'an (E.H. Palmer tr), Sura 3 - Imran's Family)

"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."(King James Bible, John 14:21)


Jeremy said...

I believe that God's love is beyond what we expect and/or deserve. He graces us with the ability to do whatever we want, and rejoices when our choice is to love Him in return!

smithjas28 said...

This is the truth. I Know what I believe. I'm a Baha'i. I know that. But, I can't help to get so confused when I try to understand some of the things I read about past religions. I think it's because just reading the writings of past religions a person can take things too litterally. For example it may be stated that the world will end. But, in reality the world, as we know it will evolve into the new era. I am a firm believer of loveing God. That,to me, is the most important thing in my life. I don't know if it's ok to feel this way or not. But, I can't help to feel that the closer I get to God, the more distant I feel from mankind. A part of me says, it's ok to feel that way but, a part of me says that it's not. I just know that God is who I must follow no matter what and the more I acknowledge God the more God will reveal his love for me.

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