Hosea 6:6, ESV
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Mercy, not sacrifice. Steadfast love, not burnt offerings. An act of the heart not just an act of obedience.
This verse is breaking my heart this morning, echoed by Christ in Matthew 9:13
Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.
The whole Church, the Body of Christ needs to ask – what are we giving, mercy or sacrifice? Where is our heart? What is our concern – showing love or saving our own skins? What is the purpose behind our actions, our legalism, our quest for purity, our understanding of forgiveness?
We have been forgiven, cleansed, made new, all by the work of Christ with no effort on our parts beyond acknowledging when the Spirit opened our eyes to see it. So what do we do with that? We offer sacrifice – time and prayers and money and ego – all in hopes someone will see and acknowledge and validate us, that our mansion in heaven might be a little bigger, a bit better furnished. Where do we show mercy? Where do we acknowledge that it is by grace we are saved – us and everyone around us.
Mercy. Not sacrifice. Grace, forgiveness, following the example of Christ to seek out the sinners and what – yell at them about how evil they are? Tell them they’re destined to an eternity of torment? No, that’s not how Christ treated the sinner. Mercy. Grace. Forgiveness. Christians should be active in the work of restoration – renewal and healing and the journey toward wholeness.
Mercy, not sacrifice. God give me strength.