When I consider who I am in Christ, the first thing that always comes to mind is how he renamed me with his Mercy. Throughout my adulthood, I had carried with me the guilt of my sin. I wore shame like a badge of honor. I believed I must do this so that I could atone for my failings. I often said that my greatest disappointment was not being perfect.
Being that I thought I was suffering my sins in private, meant that I also made terrible choices. Who could make a good choice while covered in guilt and shame? Who could be kind, when you are constantly beating yourself up?
Having burdened myself with guilt, I had little room for forgiveness and mercy. Similar to the verse in Isaiah, “O how terrible for those who confuse good with evil, right with wrong, light with dark, sweet with bitter,” bitterness reigned in my heart. The constant guilt bearing and hurt holding left my hands too full to reach out to Jesus. So I just kept piling it on. This led me to dark places.
It wasn’t until I was faced with losing everything I held dear, that I finally came to the Lord. When I gave up my selfish wonderings, Jesus and I started reading Hosea. It was there that I saw stark difference between Israel’s wondering and God’s long-suffering patience. I realized that while I thought I was doing a good thing by carrying the weight of my sins, God wanted me to know who He was and what he could do, if only I would let him.
During a quiet time with Him, he whispered to me the name Mercy. I asked him, “Father, are you leading me to have another child?” He let me sit with the name for a while and then He gave me this verse:
I won’t just restore the agricultural abundance; I’ll sow into My beloved land and plant the people in the land and make them My own. To the one who has not been shown mercy, I’ll rename her Mercy. I’ll tell Not My People “You are now My People!” and he’ll respond, “You’re my God!”
In that precious moment I knew I must set down my guilt and shame, and lift my hands to the Lord. You see dear friends, Jesus has died on the cross for my sins, He has covered my shame with his blood. By me carrying all this dirt around, I was no longer free to experience His grace and mercy. Now I know, I’ve been renamed Mercy, and I can run and dance in the light of his presence, no longer encumbered by my failings.
If you don’t know this mercy, I encourage you to spend some quiet time with your Father. Perhaps you read Hosea with Him. Allow God to hold your hand, allowing the Holy Spirit to convict and comfort you. He will lead you and restore your life. In Matthew he says, “My yolk is easy and my burden is light.” If the yolk and burden is heavy in your life, you need to turn that over to the one who died to save you.
We are precious, and beloved. Even when we fall, we can lift our dirty, skinned-up hands to Jesus and he will say, “You are forgiven.” We are free, we are redeemed, and we are His.
So, when I think about my identity in Christ, I remember when he looks at me, he sees me, and loves me anyways. The person I am is no longer dictated by the sin I can carry, rather by the power of Jesus’ blood. My name is Mercy.