Wednesday, September 7, 2011
While vending at a craft show earlier, I parked my car in the wrong spot. Thanks to the mercy of people in charge, they did not tow my car away. They could have. They should have. I’m thankful they didn’t. If we stop and think about it, we could find many instances of merciful acts delivered for our benefit, couldn’t we? Thanks to Jesus, He delivers His mercy to us every day.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
Blessed Are the Merciful
When Jesus walked the earth, people learned quickly about His merciful acts. Dozens came running to Him, crying “Have mercy on me, Lord!” And He always did. He healed ten lepers. He raised a sick girl and Lazarus from the dead. He cast out demons that tormented people. He showed mercy to those who asked and to those who did not.
What does it mean to be merciful? The Oxford Dictionary says mercy is “kindness or forgiveness shown towards someone who is in your power.” Kindness, a part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and forgiveness are important characteristics of God that He wants us to pass on to others.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7) Does that imply we should be merciful so we will receive mercy in return? Yes, but only in the sense that showing mercy gives us feelings of joy and satisfaction knowing we’ve helped someone and knowing it’s the right thing to do as a follower of Christ.
Being merciful isn’t always easy, though. When someone is impatient with us, it’s sometimes easier to shout back than to be patient with them. When we see someone hurting, we may tend to turn away because we have something “more important” to do. When we have been slandered or misrepresented, we sometimes take offense and even retaliate.
Neither does mercy always come easy for us when it applies to the mistakes people make. I think back to when I felt impatient with my young kids as they charged headlong into a mistake after I had told them the “right way” to do something. When they messed up, I felt like yelling, “I told you so!” And if I didn’t say it aloud, I pasted a smirk on my face so they got the idea. Can you relate? As a more mature adult, I still find it isn’t always easy to deal with boneheadedness—even though I act like a bonehead at times.
Fortunately, mercy is evident all around us. We see and hear about acts of kindness from and to strangers. We marvel at the mercy some people show to those who don’t deserve it. Yet, should we marvel? As Christians we’re supposed to always show mercy as Jesus did. He’s our perfect example.
Lord, thank You for Your unending mercy toward us. Open our eyes to those who need mercy and teach us how to be merciful as Christ is to us. In His name we pray, amen.