Sermons

Mercy: "Showing Mercy to Your Family"

Pastor Dave Chiolero

04-02-17

 

Today is the Sixth week of our Mercy Series and we’re going to talk about showing mercy to your family. I want to start by saying, “I didn’t like this message”. I didn’t like it because it exposed some ugly stuff in myself that doesn’t look too pretty.

 

In the last couple weeks, as I began to think about this topic, I also began to pay closer attention to how I behaved at home with my family. I wanted to get some perspective. If I’m going to share with you some examples of showing mercy in your family, I wanted to have some good stories to share with you. I got some good stories alright, but they weren’t success stories. What I discovered is how much I lack mercy in my home. I’m not very gracious, I’m not very patient, I say things that are unkind, I have expectations and when they’re unmet I get upset, and I’m not very attentive.

 

Last week, Pastor Mary shared that a good way to show mercy was by being attentive to the people around you. That same night, my daughter Lorree and I took a quick trip to Target together. We had good conversation on the way there, in the store, and on the way home. When we got back in the house, I made my way into the front room and sat on the couch. I was about to put my headphones in and listen to a book when Lorree plopped on the couch next to me. She wasn’t done with the conversation we started. My daughter Lorree has a gift of talking and when she finds a victom, I mean a willing listener, she has no problem filling the time. I asked her how long this conversation was going to be so I could get on with my book and she reminded me of Pastor Mary’s message that morning. “You need to show mercy by paying attention to me.”

 

It’s sad that the place where I lack mercy the most is around the people that I love the most. It can be easier to show grace and mercy to people at work and church, or even complete strangers, than to show it at home with my wife and children.

 

I can come home from a day where I met with several people and was able to support them with a good amount of grace and mercy and then come home and extend none to my wife and children.

 

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There’s a scripture here that I would like us all to read together:

 

I will try to walk a blameless path, but how I need your help Lord, especially in my own home, where I long to act as I should.

Psalms 101:2 (LB)

 

I really appreciate the words ‘I will try’ in this verse. We will never be blameless, but I think God is really happy with us when we’re working on it.

 

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You want to have some fun, I think we should all take a quiz to see what loving and merciful people we are. Take out your notes, there’s a quiz there that we can take together.

 

QUIZ: HOW MERCIFUL AM I WITH MY FAMILY?

 

When my spouse or sibling or another family member…

 

  1. Gets some details wrong while telling a story, do I

   __ Interrupt them and correct them publicly?

   __ Say nothing and let it go, knowing I’ve done the same?

 

2. …Keeps making the same mistake over and over, do I

  __ Become irritated & angry at them?

  __ Graciously forgive them and pray for them?

 

3. …Is getting more attention than I think they deserve, do I

  __ Feel resentful & feel the need to bring them down a notch?

  __ Celebrate with them?

 

4. …Says or does something I don’t understand, do I

  __ Assume they have the best motivation for doing it?

  __ Question their motivation or think the worst?

 

5. Am I more polite with

   __ strangers OR __ my own family?

 

OK, how did you do?

Maybe now, your ready to hear a message on showing mercy to your family.

 

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In this series, you’ve been hearing that mercy is love in action. Mercy is not a feeling. It’s not an emotion. It’s a behavior. It’s a choice. It’s a decision. It’s something you choose to do. You choose to be merciful. Pastor Mary showed us a video last week of Mama Heidi Baker. In that video, Heidi said that ‘love looks like something’ – you have to be able to see it.

 

Mercy is love in action. So whatever is true about love is also true about mercy. That helps us because the Bible has a very famous chapter - 1 Corinthians 13. The whole chapter defines the meaning of real love. It gives us several characteristics of real love. Unless you’re doing these things you don’t really love somebody. These are the characteristics of real love and of real mercy. Let me read them to you. They’re there on your outline.

 

“Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not envy. Love is not boastful or proud. Love is not rude. Love is not self-seeking. Love is not irritable or easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs.

 

Love does not delight in evil. Love rejoices with the truth. Love is always supportive. Love always trusts. Love is always hopeful. Love always perseveres and never gives up. Love never fails. It never ends.”1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

Love is patient. [So anytime I’m being impatient I’m being unloving.]

Love is kind. [Anytime I’m unkind I’m being unloving.]

Love does not envy. [In other words you don’t want what somebody else has.]

Love is not boastful or proud. [When I’m prideful I’m not full of love.]

Love is not rude. [Anytime I’m rude I’m not being loving.]

Love is not self-seeking. [It’s not me first. If it’s all about me – That’s not love. Love is not self-centered. Love is focusing on the other person.

Love is not easily angered. [It’s not easily irritable]

Love keeps no record of wrongs. [Have you ever held an offense against a family member. Do you store up their mistakes in your mind?]

Love does not delight in evil.

Love rejoices with the truth. [You don’t play games to manipulate people when you love them.]

Love is always protective & supportive. [you always have their back]

Love always trusts.

It is always hopeful.

Love always perseveres and love never gives up.

Love never fails.

 

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Today, we’re going to look at four areas where we really need these characteristics of Love. Remember that Mercy is love in action. I’ve asked some guys to share their stories with us to illustrate the points. We’re going to look at four ways to show mercy to your family members at home.

 

The first way we can show Mercy in our family is:

 1. BY OVERLOOKING IRRITATIONS AND OFFENSES.

 

By overlooking – in other words, by looking past, by not even paying attention to the irritations, the offenses.

 

You’re going to have irritations in life. Nobody has good days every day. All families and marriages are going to have irritations and offenses. Yet the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:5 “Love, [real love] is not irritable or easily angered.” Real love does not get angry easily.

 

A few days ago, my wife was so kind and moved my laundry from the washer to the dryer. Instead of thanking her, I told her that she put it on the wrong setting. Well, I actually thanked her first – and then told her she put it on the wrong setting. What do you think she heard?

 

We were unloading groceries from the car a couple weeks back, and all the kids were helping. Instead of being grateful for their help and thanking them, I criticized one of my kids for not carrying enough.

 

I came home from work one day and my daughter asked if I would listen to her essay and give her feedback. My first response was, “How long is it?”

 

I’m telling you, the list goes on… Thinking about this message created a lot of ugly stuff in me. I’m sure it wasn’t there before… right? It’s like buying a new car and all of a sudden there’s lots of the same car driving all around town. Where did they come from? They weren’t there before!

 

 

The truth is, I have a problem being too critical. I looked up the word critical:

 

Expressing harmful or disapproving comments of judgments.

The synonyms are: condemning, disapproving, fault-finding, judgmental, accusatory, negative, and nitpicking.

 

That’s the truth. I won’t deny it.

But there’s also a grater truth, and that is – God is transforming me into a better version of myself. I don’t have to stay the same. And neither do you.

 

God is inviting you to show mercy over irritations and offenses, and He has also led the way by forgiving yours.

 

The second way we can show mercy in our family is by…

2. BEING KIND WHEN THEY DON’T DESERVE IT BUT NEED IT

 

1 Corinthians 13:4,7 “Love is patient... Love is kind... Love is always supportive.” Are you always supportive? Are you always supportive of the people whether they deserve it or not? When I play basketball, I have to use supports for my ankles because they’re weak. The brace gives me the support I need so I don’t hurt myself more. Sometimes we have family members who are weak [there’s many different kinds of weakness] and they need our support.

 

Rubin is here to share more about this idea.

 

Hi, my name is Ruben Silva and Pastor Dave has asked me to share what I have been learning how mercy is kind to your family members when they least deserve it.  

 

For those who don’t know us, my wife and I have been married for 23 years as of March 19, 2017, we have 4 beautiful kids, 2 boys and 2 girls. Our oldest son is Isaac and he is 19, next is Elijah and he is 18, our oldest daughter is Breanna and she is 11, then we have our youngest of the family Andrea and she is 10.

 

In spring of 2014, God asked our family to embark on a new journey that would change and challenge our life’s forever. We were scared and concerned. We didn’t know what to expect, But God just asked us to trust Him no matter what the outcome would be. With lots of prayers and consideration we decided to trust God. To accepted and be obedient Gods invitation, so we jumped in the boat with Him.

 

The invitation that God was inviting us into was to adopt two beautiful girls. There used to be just four of us in the family, but God wanted to increase our children by 50%. We had planned on adopting one child eventually, but God’s plans were for 2. We have the 2 boys that are our biological sons and God brought in our 2 daughters in August 31, 2015.

 

So for the past almost 2 years my family and I have been through the biggest adjustment of our lives - the dynamic of a blended family with lots of friction and growing pains - some of you may know what I’m talking about. In this process of getting to know each other, care for each other, bound, adjust, protect, trust and love each other, there has been plenty of speed bumps and setbacks that have created some irritation on both sides and even broken trust. At times, we considered throwing in the towel and giving up on them – they were also tempted to give up on us. About a month ago we hit a brick wall, this was the worst incident we had come across so far. This time the trust between the girls and us had been severely broken. We felt betrayed, and it created a dangerous situation for our whole family. It got so bad that our family was literally divided in half as we decided on want the future would hold and what to do next. Inside of me, I was torn apart. I wanted them gone - out of my house, and at the same time I felt that wasn’t what God want us to do - I didn’t feel Gods peace in just kicking them out. My wife was struggling really hard too. She was in pain - heartbroken, scared and worried for our life’s - and she was done. So we asked family, friends, our small group and my accountability men’s group that is up here with me today for advice and prayer. We also found out later that all of our pastoral staff were praying with us and for us. And for all of you that have been part and involved in supporting and praying for us I just want you to know that my family and I are forever gratefully for everything, it truly takes a village to raise a child.

On the days that followed, God started to move in my and our families hearts. God was asking of me to put my feelings aside and continue to trust Him and be kind even if it seemed that they don’t deserve it but they sure need it at that moment. If we kicked them out, we wouldn’t be any different than the previous homes they were at. Before, every time things got difficult, they would get shoved away into another strangers house - and where is God’s mercy in that. I want to make it clear - God wasn’t asking me to deny the pain and frustration inside of me. But He was asking me to give it up to Him and trust that He would give me the mercy to heal, to trust again, to overcome it and to complete the journey He had invited us to be a part of. This wasn’t our plan! This is Gods plan! And even if it seems out of control at times, the truth is that it isn’t.

 

Fast forward to today, Gods mercy for me and my wife have extended into our sons and most important to our beautiful daughters. And so you know our girls are not going anywhere as long as God wants them here with us. I can say that with certainty even though the adoption process is not finalized and it’s still pending in court with an appeal. Our journey has just begun and we don’t know what the future holds. For sure we will have many more bumps in the road to come, but God’s mercy will be there waiting for us.

To finalize, I would like to share a dream that our youngest daughter had during this difficult time, and an answer that my older daughter gave to a question I had asked her. This was after God started to move in everyone’s hearts.

 

Andrea’s dream:

In her dream Andrea said she was outside in the front yard crying and looking at our house. She notice that above our house there was this big, dark storm, but everywhere else around our home it was nice and beautiful day. Then she noticed, over by the garbage can, a heart - shaped like balloon - was there floating and glowing in the air. She felt warm, like God was speaking to her at that moment. She asked, “God what do you want from me?” And God responded, “Just love me Andrea.”

 

Breanna’s statement:

One evening at our dinner table, as we were talking to the girls, Breanna said, “Dad, I have an answer to the question.” I said, “What question?” She responded, “To the question you asked me.” (I asked her, “Why do you want to stay here with us? And why should we let you stay) She said, “The reason why I want to stay is because I have become attached to you guys - I wasn’t supposed to because I was told to never get attached to anyone - but I have, and I want to be part of this family no matter what it takes.”

 

So that is what God’s mercy does when you are kind to someone in your family that doesn’t deserves it but needs it

 

The third way we can show mercy in our family is by…

3. WORKING THROUGH CONFLICT AND ADVERSITY

 

There will be times of conflict in families – times where your butting heads.

And life has seasons that are very challenging. They can be adversities we bring upon ourselves, or ones that our out of our control.

One thing is certain, If we’re going to get through it with God’s mercy, we will have to forgive and let go of past hurts.

1 Corinthians 13:5 “Love [real love] keeps no record of wrongs.” Love doesn’t keep a record and store up all the bad things, the hurts, the offenses so that you could pull them out as ammunition. Don’t do that. Love keeps no record of wrongs.

 

 

By 2009, I was coming out of a very burdensome period in my life. I was not happy with where my career was at this stage in my life. I felt that I should be further ahead and better off then I was. I had invested in an investment property, but that wasn’t going very well either. That year in March, right around my birthday I hear there was a franchise fair at the San Jose Convention Center. It was going to be held on the weekend of my birthday, so I asked my wife if we could go for my birthday. She agreed and so we went to the fair to look at the different businesses that were being offered. I found this sign business that look interesting. We inquired and talked to the representative and decided to take a more detailed look at what the business had to offer. During that time I was really praying, trying to see if this was in God’s will, but I also really wanted out of my current profession. After several months of talking to several of the franchise owners, and looking into the business, I still wasn’t sure, but I decided to buy out one of the franchise owners. When I asked my wife, she agreed, but now I understand that she was only agreeing because she saw how unhappy I was with the way things were going. So by November of that year, we had gone to Florida for two weeks of training and had opened the business. This is where the stress point and chain of events began.

         In order for my wife to come to work in the business, she pulled all the kids from public school and began to home school the kids who were ages 6, 8 and 10 at the time. On top of that, because I had to work two jobs, it added much more work load and stress on her.

         Fast forward to June 2010. By this point the business is failing. We were getting a crash course on the reality of starting a business. I have been working 14 to 16 hour days since the business began. My wife was also working long hours in the business plus home schooling and taking care of the kids. We were both exhausted and stressed to the maximum. I was close to getting fired for lack of performance at my job. We were both at our breaking point and something needed to change or I was going to lose my job, my business, my house and most importantly marriage. I decided to cut my losses and that a total reset needed to be done. I called the franchise and told them that they needed to find a buyer for the business or I would shut the business down. 

I also began the foreclosure process on my investment property. In order to make this work, I had to stop almost all the activity at the business and begin to fully re-engage at my job. This left my wife with all the responsibility of the business while we waited for the franchise to find a buyer. We lived this way for another six months, until I finally shut the business down. At this point we are both full of stress, anger and resentment with the situation and each other. My wife had had enough. We could barely speak to each other at this point without getting into an argument. Between the business and the investment property hundreds of thousands of dollars had been lost. It was probably February of 2011 that it all hit the boiling point. But this is also where God truly tested the resilience and fortitude of our marriage. For months heated words and insults had been hurled at each other. All I could think was how much more can I take? In this particular argument my wife admitted that she was hoping that I would ask her to leave. When those words came out of her mouth, in an instance something changed in me. At that moment I realized that I don’t hate my wife, I love her! My response to her was that there was nothing she could say or do to make me ask her to leave. I made a promise to her and God to honor our marriage through good and bad and that I would not break that promise to either one of them. After that, things started to change. God’s Mercy began to heal our marriage through forgiveness and patience. Eventually, we settled all the legalities of the business and the property. But more importantly God revealed to us that our love and commitment to each other, with God at the center, is stronger than anything life can throw at us.

 

The fourth way we can show mercy in our family is by…

4. BELIEVING GOD IS WORKING EVEN WHEN YOU CANT SEE IT

 

You must believe that God is working in the life of your spouse even when you don’t see it. You must believe God is working in the lives of your kids even when you don’t see it. You must believe that God is working in the lives of your other family members – your parents – even though you don’t see it. You trust, you believe. Faith and mercy and love and grace all go together. The Bible says you have to trust God.

 

1 Corinthians 13:7 “Love always trusts, [It doesn’t just trust other people. It trusts God. love always trust...] love is always hopeful [Not hopeless; love is always hope filled], and love perseveres through whatever comes.”

 

I was born and raised in a Christian home and through the example of my parents, I learned the importance of christian values, the presence of God, education, and hard work.  My father was a bi-vocational businessman and pastor and  was very  instrumental in developing the A of G in Uruguay.

 

As a young adult, I enrolled in the College of Engineering to become an Industrial Engineer and at the same time I became the youth pastor in my  local church and got involved with several interdenominational youth groups. A little later, I also started a business and a christian band.

 

When I got married to Leticia, I  brought her into my world of activities.

Six months into our marriage, I was called to start the FGBFI  which demanded a lot of my time and resources.

 

I had good intentions but as time passed by,  I was spreading myself too thin with the responsibilities of church activities, ministry, and business, so, I wasn’t able to give my growing family the time that they needed.

 

Due to a combination of factors my business started to suffer, and after 18 years  of running it, I had to close it.  But still had to deal with the financial remnants.

Soon God provided  another job, so  I was confident that I could take care of them.

 

God was talking to me that more changes needed  to be made because I was still catering to the demands that church, ministry, and my new job had on me,  thinking that my family would be Ok no matter what.

Later on, God intervened by suddenly  releasing me from most of these responsibilities.

Seeking God almost in despair, He told me: “Pay what you owe”. I understood God’s message to be: “Give yourself back to your family”.

 

A month later we came to Fremont for my niece’s wedding, not knowing that God had other plans. I was offered a job as engineer by a company that was willing to sponsor me and my family.

In order to expedite the immigration process, I ended up staying here for a year and a half while Leticia and the kids were back in Montevideo. During that temporary period, I analyzed the reasons and choices that had put my family and me 7000 miles apart.  I felt disappointed with myself and others and wondered even if there was a future for us.

But God in His mercy  spoke to me  clearly, saying that he wanted to restore my priorities, beginning with my love towards Him. During that year and a half I was brought to Harbor Light and have stayed here ever since.

When the immigration papers were finished, I went back to pick my family and on  August 22nd, 1999 we arrived to Fremont to start a new stage in our lives.

Ahead of us were a lot of challenges, but God told us that He was gonna be with us.

 

The kids started attending Fremont Christian School and all of us attended and participated as much as we could in Harbor Light activities.

I was willing to do whatever was necessary to give back my family everything they needed to succeed. And in my case, it meant focusing in hard work and family time.

Even though for several years I had  to work in two jobs for a total of  80 hours a week, I was able  to manage  our family time together to  become meaningful and spiritually rich. I finally got that by doing this, I was serving God.

 

On Easter Sunday, 2001, Pastor Terry  had scheduled a church gathering at sunrise on top of Mission Peak to pray on behalf the cities of the Bay Area, and we decided to attend as a family.

When we got there, we chose a spot facing the bay, embraced each other, and started to intercede.

A thick fog  was  blocking  the view of the Bay Area. Since the sun was coming from behind, it projected the shade of our family’s shape on the thick fog.

After we finished praying, we opened our eyes and for a minute we saw a colorful rainbow  surrounding our family’s shade.

We looked at each other and were stunned.

The rainbow is a sign of God’s mercy towards mankind, and in that moment I understood that God was assuring our family that His Mercy was going to cover us in the process we were going through.  And,  as the head of my household, God’s mercy was giving me a second chance.

 

Ahead of us were  many battles to fight for. But God gave us the strength to stay on course and gave  me contentment and peace in postponing my personal goals on behalf of my family’s.

By willing to endure hardships, I was able to demonstrate love and mercy in a tangible way to Leticia, Natasha and Alexei.  

As a result of this, in all this years we were blessed in all areas.

  • We were able to serve God in different capacities without losing balance.
  • Neither member of our family had health issues that prevented from attending church, school or work.
  • Natasha and Alexei excelled academically. Today are professionally succeeding, and most importantly, they are serving God.
  • Through being faithful in our tithes and offerings. God has met our financial needs and allowed us to bless others.

 

From the bottom of my heart I can say:

  “Bless the Lord, O my soul;

   And all that is within me, bless His holy name

   Bless the Lord, O my soul,

   And forget not all His benefits:

   Who forgives all your iniquities,

   Who heals all your diseases,

   Who redeems your life from destruction,

   Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies”  Psalms 103:1-4

 

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Don come up for worship

 

I thought a good way to close today would be to pray together as families. If your not sitting with your family, would you make your way together. You can gather here at the alter or in your seats. If you’re here alone, you could take this time to join a family, or take this time to pray alone for yourself and your family members.

 

Excuse the guys to join their families

 

This morning we heard four different stories, each unique. But the solution was always the same regardless of the problem in the marriage or the family. Throw yourself on the mercy of God. Cast yourself on God’s love and God’s mercy.

 

These four things that God expects you to do with your family God does them with us every single day of our life. God overlooks and forgives our mistakes, our sins, our offenses. He overlooks and forgives them by his mercy every day of our life. God is kind to you when you need it and you don’t deserve it. God wipes out and forgets all the things you’ve done wrong when you put your trust in Christ. He wipes them out, forgives and he forgets. And God is working in your life even when you don’t feel it. This Mother’s Day you need to accept the mercy of God in your life. Let’s bow our head for closing prayer.

 

I want to close in a prayer over all of us, and release you to pray together as long as you like.

 

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Dear God I need your mercy. I can’t be merciful to others in my own power. I need you to be merciful for me. Thank you, Jesus Christ, that you overlook and you forgive all of my offenses and my sins by your mercy. Thank you, God, that you are kind to me when I need it not when I deserve it because I don’t. Thank you, God, that you wipe out and you forget my past sins when I put my trust in Jesus Christ and what he did to pay for my sins. I want to accept your grace today. I want to accept your mercy today. Thank you, God, that you’ve been working in my life even when I didn’t know it. I want to get to know you better. I want to learn to love you and trust you and to be a merciful person. In your name I pray. Amen.