I think we have all been on the receiving end of mercy.
As a kid, I would have tickle fights with my dad and after five seconds of sheer torture/bliss I would yell out “mercy!” in an effort for a brief reprieve. Of course, he may have been slower to mercy than I would have liked, but he always let off so I could catch my breath long enough for me to cry out “more!”
As a young teenager, I was mowing my pastor’s lawn when he was on holiday with his family. I wanted to do the best job possible. I got carried away in my enthusiasm and took the weed eater around their new kiddie pool. Needless to say, it cracked, and all the water spilled out. I started to cry…I knew I was in trouble. Days later I did the walk of shame to his front door to apologize and to promise to mow his lawn for free until the debt was paid. He paid me for my work, put his hand on my shoulder and assured me that it was ok.
How have you been shown mercy in your life?
How Do You Show Mercy?
Now here’s the million-dollar question for all of us. How are we showing mercy to others?
Mercy is showing forgiveness for the guilty and compassion for the suffering. It’s the way followers of Jesus should live.
We forgive much because we have been forgiven much.
Jesus told a story about a servant who owed an amount that he would never be able to repay. Instead of being thrown into debtor’s prison, he was forgiven by the King of the land. Of course, the servant is excited, he has been given a new lease on life. He is free. What a great story!
But there’s more.
This same servant, on his way home from his meeting with the king, sees another acquaintance who owes him some money. Rather than saying, “Hey bro, this is your lucky day, your debt is canceled” he shook him down. “Pay up or I’ll have you thrown in prison!”
How ungrateful could this man be? He had been shown mercy beyond reason, and now refused to give it to someone who needed it as well. What kind of person does this?
Me. You. All of us.
Mercy or Justice?
We want mercy for ourselves and justice for others.
When we wrong someone, we want them to give us the benefit of doubt. When they wrong us, we often want them to feel the hurt.
Is it any wonder there is so much pain in the world?
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” I want mercy, so I better be an agent of mercy.
Here are a few things you can do to show mercy this coming week:
Listen to those in crisis. In our fast-paced world, a listening ear goes a long way.
Look for people with unmet needs and help them. If it’s in your reach, just do it.