For many years I hid as a hypocrite in a legalistic church. How easy it was to look on the "outsiders" as unenlightened, uncommitted... or just "dirty sinners." All the while I ignored my own inner filthiness.

Like the Pharisees in this passage, I felt it was a sacrifice to "live holy" and separate myself from those sinners. They didn't deserve my mercy until they too made a "sacrifice" and separated themselves from the world or from "wrong theology" or "wrong practice."

What I finally came to understand was that I desperately needed God's mercy. Because I could never measure up to His standards, I was as much of a sinner as I viewed those others to be (Romans 3:23). How grateful I am that God pursued me with His mercy and never let go until He brought me into His family as a precious adopted child (Galatians 4:4-5).

How about you? Have you dwelt among the hypocrites, not understanding your own deep need of God's mercy? It's never too late to call upon the God of all mercy and ask Him to make you His child.

Heavenly Father, you never gave up on me — even in my darkest and most desperate times — even when I thought I didn't need to be saved. You pursued me with your mercy and love, and now I have the joy of being part of your forever family. Thank you, Father God! Amen.

Go Deeper — This week, take your concordance or online Bible app and look up all the biblical references to God's mercy. It will astound you how good our God is to those who turn to Him!

Tags: Grace and Mercy Matthew 9
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