Mercy is difficult to come by these days.
We live in an age when everyone desires their own way of thinking and acting, an age when hearts are cold as ice for lack of compassion.
Mercy and compassion are a foundational part of our faith in Jesus Christ. Showing mercy and showing grace are what the Lord talked about often.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” -Matthew 5:7
Mercy is the act of not giving someone what they deserve or doing to them what you have the power to do. Our heavenly Father shows us mercy when He allows us to live instead of pouring out judgement on us for our sin. That is why grace and mercy are so often mentioned together.
However, mercy goes beyond withholding the negative, it is also about giving what is needed to end suffering. This too is modeled by the Lord. He not only withheld the things we deserved but He gave us what we needed. We deserve eternal separation from Him but He forgave us our unrighteousness and gave us eternal life.
It goes further still.
Because we were forgiven of disobedience, are we now to continue in that disobedience? Think of the example Jesus gave in parable of the unforgiving servant found in Matthew 18:21-35. When the debt is forgiven do we go out of our way to create new debt? May it not be true.
Rather, we should be changed by the mercy we have been shown. The very nature of mercy demands that we extend the mercy we have received to those we can in turn show mercy. According to Our Lord, receiving mercy requires a merciful heart. It is the only requirement.
Forgiveness and mercy are closely connected. We must be merciful to forgive. We can look on a person and know that they have fallen short of our expectations, they deserve our condemnation and whatever we have to power to do to them. They have hurt us or they have hurt others. They deserve whatever they have coming to them.
So did we. We have hurt others, we have sinned against God and against our fellow man. We deserve what we have coming to us. Yet, the Lord gave us mercy, He withheld the very wrath and anger that we deserve.
He forgave us.
We are indebted to God. How do we repay such mercy, such kindness. We too show mercy.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
People, be they our friends or our family even an enemy, have hurt us. They have wronged us, trespassed against us, they deserve our rebuke. But, the Lord has shown us mercy and so we are obligated to show them mercy as well.
When we obey God in this way, we not only receive His mercy but we gain a warm heart. A merciful heart is a compassionate heart, a giving heart, one that extends kindness. Once we are able to show mercy it is easier to show more mercy. Mercy that extends to all of God’s creation.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made. -Psalms 145:8-9
We are to imitate the Lord in showing mercy to people and to over all that He has made. Kindness to animals, in steadfast love is a part of this mercy. We should give compassion to them too.
The reason this old world seems so cold is because it lacks mercy, it lacks compassion. It belongs to us to show mercy, because it can only truly come from the people of God. Bringing mercy, grace and kindness to others can thaw the cold heart, it can open the door to salvation.
If you have unforgiveness in your heart it is time to show mercy. While the people you owe vengeance may deserve it, it is withing your power to forgive, to be merciful.
Are you willing?
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