Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6: 36
God in His wisdom has given us so many Scripture passages that can make us look deep into our hearts and reflect on what we see. This is certainly one of those! I do so want to show more mercy to others, and how I need and desire more mercy from those around me.
We often hear about God’s mercy and grace, but do we truly think about what these words mean? I found it defined this way: “Grace is the goodness or love of God given to those who have done nothing to deserve it. Mercy is the judgement or wrath of God withheld from those who do deserve it.”
In other words, God is always being faithful to us even when we are unfaithful to Him. He doesn’t treat us as we deserve. He doesn’t withhold His blessings and love, but He “holds in” His disappointment and anger. No matter who we are or what we have done, we each receive His mercy in abundance. He loves us, forgives us, and accepts us!
But then, look at us – with all our judgments, flaws, and insecurities. How can we expect Him to give us His mercy and grace when we refuse to give it to others? What a humbling thought!
“Be merciful.” To show “mercy” as used in this passage means we are to show love, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness to those we may think are not worthy or deserving of us doing so. It means accepting people for who they are, even if we think they are not who they should be. It means to set things right between us and others, and to reach out to them with love and grace. In essence, we are not to judge them or hold them accountable for past words or actions; we are to give them another chance to show us who they can be.
We hear so much about the need to love each other, but along with that love, we could surely use more mercy in our relationships with others. Amazingly, in today’s culture, it’s not even a quality we aspire to have. We don’t want to be seen as a “doormat” or as being disrespected, and we certainly have to always be “politically and socially correct”.
We seem to have such little tolerance or acceptance for other people’s opinions or viewpoints. If they don’t think or believe as we do, we have no use for them and often ridicule or condemn their thinking. If words, actions, or even appearances are not what we think they should be, we tend to give individuals the cold shoulder or remove ourselves from them completely. And amazingly, we don’t even have to be a witness to it ourselves! If we hear of some “little perceived indiscretion” we don’t like, we may immediately make a conscious decision to hold that person in judgement. We may simply refuse to love and accept him/her from that moment on, and decide that we will never give them another chance to show us who they really are and who they can be.
This is not how God desires us to treat others. Jesus Christ showed mercy to everyone and so should we. We are to love our neighbors and show kindness.
Yet, showing mercy doesn’t come naturally. It takes a heartfelt commitment and effort on each of our parts to show forgiveness and compassion to those who have hurt us or to show love to those whom we feel are undeserving.
We need His Spirit within us to guide our thinking and help us to offer this grace to others. By doing so, we are honoring God and His command to love. May we see others through the same merciful eyes as our loving God and embrace the responsibility He has given us to show compassion and mercy to a hurting world.
Our most merciful God, we thank you for your kindness and forgiveness, your love and your grace. Thank you for your faithfulness to us even when we are so unworthy. May we show the same mercy to those around us and honor you with our lives. Amen
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