“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” Matthew 5:7
Mercy is something that is hard to teach to your children. I don’t know about your kids, but mine have a hard time grasping the concept of mercy. Their mindset is “an eye for an eye”. If the older one does something to annoy the younger one then the younger one will retaliate and get her back. And vice versa. Then when I question their actions, their response is: “Well, she did that to me first so she deserved it!”
Wow. Where is the love and mercy in that?
But I am guilty of not showing mercy too. I will be honest and shamefully admit that there have been times in my life that I haven’t wanted to show mercy. If someone did something to hurt me, then I would get them back.
I have two sisters, and even though I can’t remember all the things we fought about, I know there were times we got mad at each and sought revenge. But there is this one incident I do remember involving my older sister and I. It’s funny how we remember the stories of others not showing mercy to us! I’m calling my older sister out on this one, but she knows I love her!
One day when we were kids she got mad at me for something I did to her. I’m sure I was annoying her pretty bad. I have no clue what it was, but she got mad enough to drag me off the couch by one arm. I landed on my arm the wrong way and began crying. It hurt to move it. My parents had to take me to the ER to have it x-rayed, but thankfully nothing was fractured or broken. Mercy was not shown, but glad we can look back on times like this and laugh!
In the Bible, God repeatedly shows mercy over and over. Just look at the Israelites. Based on what they did, God had every right to turn His back on them. They did not deserve to receive the Promised Land. And yes, He did punish them for 40 years, but He showed mercy time and time again.
Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount and the Matthew 5 Scripture above is one of the Beatitudes that he spoke of. Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” That means we need to follow the example God lays out for us and show mercy to others. We will receive mercy if we give mercy. If someone wrongs us, show mercy. If someone intentionally harms us, show mercy. If someone does the unthinkable to us, show mercy.
Is it easy to show mercy?
No, of course not! It’s extremely hard to show mercy to someone who has hurt us. We want to punish them for what they did to us. We want to make them suffer just as they made us suffer. We want to seek revenge and retaliate against them. Why? Because they deserve it.
But Jesus says, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” Luke 6:36. God has shown us how to show mercy to others. He hasn’t left us in the dark to try and figure it out on our own. He is the prime example for us.
Look at Jesus. As He was hanging on the cross being crucified, He asked God, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34. Wow, did He really say that? Yes, He was asking God to forgive the people that were crucifying Him! Jesus could have asked Peter to seek revenge for Him. He could have asked John to make those people pay for what they did to Him. But no, Jesus only asked God to forgive them and show them mercy. This is the most powerful example of mercy I know.
Has someone wronged you? Have you held something over someone’s head because they deserved it? Did you pay someone back for what they did to you?
My challenge for you is to stop what you are doing right now and fall to your knees. Ask God to show you the areas of your life where you need to show mercy. Then ask God to forgive you for not showing mercy. Finally, do the one thing God is asking you to do in that situation….show mercy.
Prayer: Merciful God, we are grateful for the many ways you show us mercy each and every day. Forgive us for not showing that same mercy to others. Open our eyes to see where we need to give mercy to others and help us faithfully do this. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- What person do you need to show mercy to?
- In what ways can you show mercy?