I don’t really understand a mercy that makes me love my enemies or even people who are different than I am. I am usually repulsed by the unusual. I’m more like Jonah who didn’t want to proclaim a message of repentance to the Ninevites knowing that God, in His mercy, would spare them. I want mercy for myself and for a few select others. But for God to have mercy on everyone…I don’t understand that. I want a God who is good to the righteous and destroys evil. Yet, He makes the sun to rise on the just and the unjust, upon the evil and the good. Then again, I guess that’s a good thing ‘cuz I’m not sure which category I fit into most of the time.[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]
However, I am slowly learning this about God: “the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 103.8). And, I’m seeing that I need to be much more like that. But how?
The primary way to experience gracious mercy is to pass it on to others;
to empty oneself of steadfast love only to discover God’s mercy is filling the emptiness.
So what does practicing mercy look like? According to Jesus, it looks like…
- loving your enemies
- doing good to those who hate you
- blessing those that curse you
- praying for those who abuse you
- offering your face to someone who slaps you
- giving your hat to the one who steals your coat
- giving to the beggar
- allowing the one who stole from you to keep what he’s taken
- treating others like you want to be treated
- showing kindness to the ungrateful and the evil
- BEING MERCIFUL AS YOUR FATHER IS MERCIFUL
It’s Important to Note
- This is personal guidance not instruction for governmental policy. Jesus gives direction for one-on-one interaction not for government policy and practice.
- This is individual instruction not advice for a group. Jesus speaks to your own way of life not instructing committees, organizations, or even churches
- This is practical direction not theoretical information. These are actions to take not instructions to discuss and debate.
I gotta’ be honest, I struggle to do these things. This level of lovingkindness goes beyond anything a human being can muster. This kind of gracious mercy comes from God. “Be merciful as your Father is merciful?” I’ll start with, “be merciful as I can actually be merciful.” I strain to show mercy to people I love – Rhonda, my children, my family, and my friends. If I can’t be merciful to those who love me how can I even think about being merciful to those who hate me? I’ll start where I can and give to the beggar and start treating others like I want to be treated.
I’m a sorry mess! I need God’s mercy. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!”
Do you struggle to show mercy? Share your experiences below.