When we extend mercy, grace, and love for any reason other than for the sake of mercy, grace, and love (which is to say for the sake of the Kingdom), it’s not really mercy, or grace, or love that we’re extending.
If we extend love only so far as we are loved well in return, if we extend grace only so far as we decide it is “safe”, if we are merciful only so far as we don’t feel like we’ll be taken advantage of … then what we’re doing is conducting a transaction. We are being merciful, gracious, and loving for the purpose of being treated well in return.
The definition of biblical love leaves no room for this. The definition of grace demands that we give with no regard for a return on our efforts. The definition of mercy precludes any thought of me.
Originally posted to my Facebook page, April 11, 2012.