THE FASHION OF MERCY
BY: ROMEO CORSINI
“And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they came unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was born of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.” (Mark 2:1-12)
“We never saw it on this fashion.” We never saw a healing result from the forgiveness of sins. How can this be that someone can be released from a bondage through the forgiveness of sins?
“Then said Jesus unto them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (John 20:21) What did the Father send our Lord to do? What was His purpose, His reason, His function for being here? Was it not to forgive? “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;” (Isaiah 1:18) “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” (John 20:22-23)
If so be that the Christ has breathed on you and you have received the Holy Ghost, then the power to forgive sins is also yours. For how long now has the advertised church performed healing services and healing attempts for the healing’s sake itself, not recognizing the true purpose of the Holy Ghost within us. The power of healing is in the forgiveness of sins. It is not in subjecting people to endless acts of self-flagellation, sacrifice, offerings, as though God were to be appeased all over again. Forgiveness now recognizes the one and only ultimate and perfect sacrifice of Christ being sufficient to enable us to release each other from what so easily besets us. Jesus clearly demonstrated the significance and indivisibility of healing in forgiveness with “the one with the palsy.” He even told the knowledgeable Pharisees and scribes that healing of the sick serves to prove the power to forgive sins. (Mark 2:10) But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins…) and He proceeded to tell the man to take up his bed.
“Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?” “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” (Gen. 32:38) God has made us princes and given us a name that declares the power we possess. We have a name that declares that what we do we do on behalf of God, as an extension of God, for we are His craftsmanship, His instruments, at His command. Israel, a prince of God! We are so much a part of God’s workings, He has made us one with him to the extent that he has given us power over men, and what is more awesome, he has given us power with God, with Himself. We can prevail when he challenges us. We can overcome when we struggle. We have the power to wrestle with God and prevail. We have the power to hold on unto God until he blesses us! We have the power to forgive our fellow man!
To forgive someone is to overlook an offense without demanding a consequence for it. “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” (John 20:23) We reason with our small minds at times and ask simple questions that only serve to expose our vindictive natures: questions such as, “But isn’t there a limit? How many times must I put up with…? He, she has to be held accountable or they will only… They don’t deserve…until they learn their lesson! etc…” Let all things be by the leading of the Spirit. If the Lord declares unto you to demand a consequence for a sin, then do so. But if you hear nothing of the kind, then forgive. God is not mocked. He cannot be deceived. You cannot rely on your reasoning and understanding whether someone deserves punishment or vengeance. Yours is to be peaceable and forgive. And if you are unable to associate, then forgive and avoid. Harbor no malice.
It doesn’t seem then so strange that Jesus referred to sinners as those who are sick. “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. BUT GO YE AND LEARN WHAT THAT MEANETH, I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND NOT SACRIFICE: FOR I AM NOT COME TO CALL THE RIGHTEOUS, BUT SINNERS TO REPENTANCE. (Matthew 9:13) Mercy is what is given to those who are under someone’s power by those who have power. So then we are being told that the solution is not the responsibility of the weak but of the strong. I did not come to God. He came to me. The sinner cannot show mercy; he is shown mercy. “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6) God is declaring that he desires for people to be forgiving of the offenders more than He is saying for offenders to offer sacrifices. He will take care of the sacrifice. Did He not say as much? “And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” (Genesis 22:7-8)
Jacob, believing his brother to hate him and to want to do harm to him, feared Esau as he was approaching him. But when they finally were at arms length, to Jacob’s surprise, Esau, whom Jacob seriously offended, “ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they went.” (Genesis 33:4)
Imagine the delight and warmth in Jacob’s heart to know that he was forgiven. Indeed, Jacob was so overwhelmed that he used a most astounding comparison to describe ESAU’S MERCY. He said: “For therefore I have seen thy face, AS THOUGH I HAD SEEN THE FACE OF GOD, and thou wast pleased with me.” (Genesis 33:10)
In a more striking instance, there is the story of Joseph who was sold as a slave by his brothers who wanted to be rid of him out of jealousy and hatred. “And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him…And his brothers envied him…” (Genesis 37:4, 11) Years later when Joseph is ruler in Egypt, just lower than Pharaoh, and in a position to save his brethren from famine, he reveals himself unto them who become terrified at his presence because of what they had done unto him. But Joseph sets out to allay their fear. Having discerned the wisdom of God before making a judgment, he tells them: “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life….. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance…. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God…” (Genesis 45:5, 7, 8) Again, some time later, when Jacob, their father, dies and they again fear Joseph’s retaliation, Joseph reminds them of his wisdom from God: “…. ye thought evil against me: but God meant it unto good.” (Genesis 50:20) Joseph looked beyond the selfish reach of the evil that was done unto him and found the will and wisdom of God in it. Therefore the solution, much easier said than done, for sure, was to forgive in order to give way to the honor of the will of the Lord.
Therein is the blessing. That when evil is rendered, good will be found in it if the will of God is sought in it.
But how much greater an example of how to forgive could possibly be shown us than the one offered us by the Lord Jesus himself. Consistent with his having referred to sinners as those that are sick, Jesus said, while on the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Like 23:34) Very much like Joseph regarding his brothers, Jesus considered that those that were rendering him evil could not possibly know that God’s own hand was guiding it all. That ignorance needs forgiveness. Those people need to be treated as children who have behaved childishly.
It takes the maturity of a strong, disciplined person in the Spirit of God to discern God in evil. “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction.” (Proverbs 3:11) “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Hebrews 12:5-6) Do not seek to know whether you deserve any evil, for then you run the risk of thinking more highly of yourself than you ought. Rather, keep seeking to learn the essence of forgiveness which is to be an extension of Christ, the anointed one; because, regardless of the evil, God WILL turn it to good. We must not be afraid. We must “run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; WHO FOR THE JOY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM ENDURED THE CROSS (that he did not deserve) DESPISING THE SHAME…For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Let us remember this: the issue is not one of deserve; it is a matter of worthiness. Whether or not I deserve this evil is not the question; rather, I am worthy of the good that will come of it. Therefore let me forgive and let the strength of God be with me as I wait it out, always remembering who I am, a new creature who lets vengeance belong to God.
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord…Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:19, 21)
FASHION OF MERCY, THE [Romeo Corsini] 1