Imagine parents who carefully search for the perfect Christmas presents to give to their children. After long hours of shopping and almost painful anticipation, the time has finally come. They excitedly wrap the gifts and place them by the tree on Christmas Eve while the children are sleeping. When the children awake in the morning, they stumble into the living room to see the beautiful site. There are presents for everyone! The wrapping is so beautiful and the children know that their parents got them the most amazing gifts. Each package has a name written on it so there's no doubt who they are for. The parents come in and can hardly contain themselves as they wait for the children to dig in. Then, to the parent's surprise and dismay, the children lower their heads and walk away without ever unwrapping one single gift. Upon questioning them as to why they didn't open the gifts, the children answered:
- "We don't deserve such wonderful gifts".
- "We've had a terrible year and just can't believe that anything good can happen to us anymore".
- "You've already given so many great gifts to us and we would feel guilty and selfish to accept any more".
What started out as something beautiful and heart-warming quickly turned dismal.
This was just an illustration, but the sad reality is that there is a very special, life-changing gift that very often goes unopened. That gift is God's mercy. He offers it to all mankind so that we will not be consumed by our sins. It's not based on how "good" we are, but He freely gives us mercy because of His incomprehensible love for us.
- Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV -  Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
- Titus 3:4-7 NKJV -  But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,  not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,  whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Many will not accept this gift because they don't feel like they deserve it. Others have been so jaded by life's disappointments that they can hardly believe that anything good can ever come to them. Then there are those who feel like they've exhausted all the resources of God by their repeated failures. Don't let these, or any other thoughts keep you from opening the gift of mercy.
Whether you have been a Christian for many years or whether you've never accepted Jesus, you need mercy. If you don't feel like you deserve it, you're right. That's what is so amazing about this gift. You didn't do anything to earn it and you couldn't if you tried. If you don't understand how God could love you as much as He does in spite of all you have done, join the club. I can't fully explain or understand God's love and mercy, I just know that it's real and it has changed my life and it's available to you. If you feel like you've already received your share of mercy and feel selfish to keep asking for it, refer to the scriptures above. His mercies and compassions never fail and are new every morning. They never run out!
It would be a terrible tragedy for you to be consumed by the guilt and shame of your sins when the solution is right in front of you. It's beautifully wrapped in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and it has your name written on it. Don't let this precious gift go unopened. Come to Jesus today, ask forgiveness and open this wonderful gift of mercy.
Patrick A. Thomson