Struggling with mercy
I don't struggle with the concept of mercy as much as I should. I am usually on the side of presuming that God or anyone else is going to be merciful to me. That makes me cheapen both grace and mercy quite a bit I think. I have moments where I feel the gravity of my sin and the fact that God is merciful to me (let alone graceful) overwhelms me. Yet, these realizations are fewer and farther between than I would like them to be. I often whine and cry over even the natural consequences of my decisions let alone any hand of discipline that God lay a hold of me with. I am oriented that way and need to submit that orientation to the loving care of the Spirit. This is so much different than my oldest son.
He pulled a doozy the other day and my wife and I could not characterize it as willful disobedience. It was more carelessness than anything and a result of him just being a kid. But the situation could have resulted in something extremely serious if not for God's mercy and grace. My wife communicated what happened to him and how bad things could have been as a result of his carelessness and, apart from him living with the natural consequences of the action, we decided not to punish him. This did not sit well with him. He told Nan that he thought that we should punish him and was almost insisting on it. We decided not to and all has been forgiven.
I think he struggles with grace and mercy. He seems to be the exact opposite of me: where I wonder why I am not being shown the mercy and grace that I "deserve" he wonders why he is not being punished or disciplined like he "deserves". I don't think either one of us is better off than the other because I think that both of our struggles are self-serving at their core as they seem to rail against different attributes or aspects of God: mine against his justice and his against his love. That just ups the ante a bit for Nan and I to be as much like God as possible to him. We need to be balanced in our approach to his transgressions and model a loving and just God in hopes that he won't carry this struggle into adulthood. I know we can't guarantee that won't happen, but we need to make sure that we, at the very least, don't exacerbate his present lack of perspective.