New Mercies Every Morning

One of my favorite hymns of all time is Great is Thy Faithfulness. When I was ten or eleven, we lived in Germany, and I used to attend the Sunday evening service at Patrick Henry Village Chapel (between Heidelberg and Schwetzingen). We had a Baptist chaplain and a skilled and cooperative pianist; they used to let the congregation choose hymns and sing for a half-hour or so. Sitting in the front pew (the only place I was allowed to sit, unless sitting with my parents) I would choose either Great is Thy Faithfulness or When the Roll is Called Up, Yonder. If I was particularly bold, I’d choose O Come, All Ye Faithful, which is always fun to sing in summertime.

Shovel Boy #2
In Joshua’s absence, I had to hire a few replacement shovelers.

I’ve always admired God’s faithfulness, and been very appreciative of His merciful and forgiving nature. As we are taught in Lamentations 3:22-23:

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Dust Storm Sarah
Who wants to wash the car after we’re done with the dirt?

Today I was thinking about parenting (sometimes it seems as though that is all I think about), and I was reminded of God’s kindness and His mercy toward me. Whenever I turn from my sin, I find Him ready and willing to receive me back again and to press onward in our relationship. However many times I fail Him, He doesn’t seem to become exasperated with me. In fact, He offers me (and anyone else who puts their trust in Him) this guarantee:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
— I John 1:9

Sometimes I get exasperated with my children. It seems to happen when I am trying to teach something, and out of a rebellious spirit or a hard heart, they reject my correction. I get angry, in turn, at their rejection, and find myself less willing to work with the offending child, or able to offer them any grace. This sometimes creates a stumbling block in the life of my son or daughter, and my anger can become an excuse for them to further harden their heart against my teaching. And so the crazy cycle begins … I become harsher in my correction, and they reject my correction more stubbornly, and it escalates until the child is punished and I find myself fuming at their hard-heartedness.

David Gets Tough
Sometimes you have to show the dirt pile who’s boss …

I was challenged today to try to be more like God in the way I parent, by offering fresh chances and restraining my anger when my children are not as quick to repent as I would wish them to be. After all, if God parented the way I do sometimes, I would be much less likely to repent.

Back in the 80′s, there was a Christian pop singer who went by the name of Leslie Phillips. (She later changed her stage name to Sam Phillips, crossed over to record secular music, and had a brief part as an ‘evil slasher slutty girlfriend’ in one of the Die Hard movies, but I’m not going to let that take away from the beauty of this song that she wrote and sang):

Waiting for angry words to sear my soul
Knowing I don’t deserve another chance
Suddenly the kindest words I’ve ever heard
Come flooding through my heart

It’s your kindness that leads us
To repentance Oh Lord
Knowing that You love us
No matter what we do
Makes us want to love You too

No excuse no one to blame
No where to hide
The eyes of God have found my failures
Found my pain
He understands my weaknesses
And knows my shame
But His heart never leaves me

It’s your kindness that leads us
To repentance Oh Lord
Knowing that You love us
No matter what we do
Makes us want to love You too

If You are for us
Who can be against us
You gave us everything
Even Your only Son

Daniel the Barefoot Shoveler
If you can’t use kindness, you can always fall back on hard labor.

The basis for this song (at least part of it) can be found in Romans, 2, in which Paul encourages believers not to pass judgment on others, and to respond favorably to God’s rich kindness and patience:

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

It is interesting to note that although God is kind, tolerant and patient, that the threat of His stored-up wrath remains for those who remain obstinate and unrepentant. But the lesson I take away from this song and those verses is that if I want to be more like God, I need to use kindness a lot more to encourage repentance in my children.

Or maybe they would respond to Nutella?

Project 366, Day 174

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3 thoughts on “New Mercies Every Morning”

  1. What a great reminder, Tim- that it is God’s kindness that leads us to want to change. I suspect this can be true in spousal relationships, too. What do you think?

    Love you Edgrens. Aunt Kate

  2. I LOVE that Leslie Phillips song. Saw her in concert in Clearwater once. I had no idea where she had gone. Yikes!

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