Anyone else round here hate having a crush when you’re almost 100% sure that your feelings are not returned? I do. I hate having those feelings. I hate to be so filled with “love” and longing and lust for that particular person. I hate how pathetic it makes me feel, as if I can’t survive without being in some kind of contact with them. I hate how readily I give up, seeing no point in trying to even be their friend because I am so pathetic.
But one line caught my attention:
“Loving ‘til it hurts”
Doesn’t this just sum up most unrequited crushes? You pour all these emotions into how you view one person until it hurts.
But as I kept listening, I realised that is not what this song is about.
It is about the unrelenting mercy of Jesus. About how that mercy moves our hearts. With every time they repeated the line “That’s the motion of mercy”, I was struck with the realisation that Jesus’ mercy can move my heart. It can move me away from these crushes I’m afraid to bring into the light of reality. It can move me closer to the heart of Jesus’ love. To a true and unrelenting love that isn’t based on pouring out all my emotions until it hurts. Instead, Jesus’ motion of mercy fills you with His love. Love that hurts for a broken world around it.
But the beautiful thing about Jesus’ love is that no matter how much it might hurt for the world it loves, it never runs out. So rather than being poured out until you’re empty, we overflow with the love that Jesus gives us. Caught up in that overflow of love, which is the motion of mercy.
I wrote these words back in 2016. I was in the midst of a season of heart-pain. I had given away parts of myself emotionally and sexually that I have never regained, and will never be able to take back, leading me to doubt a lot about myself. While some of those doubts remain, I have over and over been brought back to the place I was in when I started writing this blog post.
A place where God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were all at work in making sure I was known. Our triune God was busy, sewing my heart back together and the thread He used was mercy.
The Gift of Mercy
While I know that grace and mercy are two sides of the same coin, it is mercy that brings me back to the cross. Whether it is in a communion service and being reminded that Christ was wounded so that I wasn’t (literally in my case) or in my bedroom when I can’t sleep that He was pierced by a spear so that I wouldn’t be punished for my thoughts that evening, mercy is what brings me to my knees.
Mercy is when God does not give us what we deserve BUT it is also so much more than that. It is realising that without Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we would spend our eternity in hell and separated from God. It is meeting Jesus and having Him take your spoiled and sweaty clothes to wear while handing you a new, clean and ironed shirt, knowing you will get it spoiled and sweaty again. It is the Holy Spirit standing by us when our minds start to tell us how we need to be punished for _____ and whispering that we are loved despite what has happened.
We will never fully understand mercy. For love to be so unconditional that God will not punish us as we deserve is insane. It is unthinkable and mind-blowing all at the same time. A gift we can never, ever pay back. All that is left is for us to accept mercy, as a gift from God and a motion that draws us back to Him.