Today we are just four days away from what is considered, in Judaism, to be the holiest day of the year. Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement marks the culmination of a 40-day period of teshuvah, or repentance. On Yom Kippur atonement was made for the sins of the nation and the individual. The principle is quite simple: if God’s people are repentant and will turn from their wickedness, then we can trust in His mercy and His willingness to forgive us of our sins. Jeremiah wrote this:
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
All of us should be very thankful that His mercy and compassions are new every morning because, each morning when we look into the mirror, we see a person who has the potential to follow his own desires and ignore God’s purpose for them. Some days we struggle to do what is right. Some days it is difficult to make the sacrifice that’s required of those who follow the Messiah. So, thankfully, His unfailing compassions and His mercies are new to us every morning.
That being said, His mercy and forgiveness does not equate to an approval of our behavior. To the contrary, mercy gives us the opportunity to correct our behavior and our way of thinking. It affords us the opportunity to adjust our desires in such a way as to come into compliance with His will for our lives. The woman who was caught in the act of adultery was granted mercy by the Messiah, but He also told her to go and “sin no more.”
And so then, His mercy is His way of saying, “Because I love you, I’m giving you an opportunity to change your ways and draw closer to Me. My will for your life is in your best interests.” So on this day, let’s take these issues to heart and remember how important it is to turn from our desires so that we don’t make a mockery of His mercy and unfailing love.