"Mercy.....is nobility's true badge!" William Shakespeare
For many of us these days (particularly us males!), the notion of mercy carries a wimpy connotation. It's a bit like being called a "sissy" at school or on a playground when boys are young. Mercy just feels as if we're allowing someone to get away with something they shouldn't. Showing mercy does not appear to be fair. And---in this day of violent, repeating criminal offenders---it just does not seem to be the genuinely responsible thing to do!
Daily, we come across other people whose words and actions hurt us, offend us, or who just negatively affect others. In response, we become indignant; we want justice! And, often in this world and certainly in the next, God's righteous character will insure that justice is done. NO criminal act or sin passes the gaze of our holy God without His Sovereign knowledge and Divine notation!
However, this same God instructs us to exercise mercy just as He has done. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that "God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Matthew 5:7)
1. To whom does God show mercy?
a. To those who don't deserve it! "He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does He deal with us as we deserve." (Psalm 103:8-10)
b. To those with sincere hearts. "The Lord your God will be merciful only if you obey Him and keep all the commands I am giving you today..." (Deuteronomy 13:18)
2. How does God show us mercy?
a. In the life we have today. "He forgives all my sins...He ransoms me from death...He fills my life with good things..." (Psalm 103:2-18)
b. In the world to come. "He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy." (Titus 3:5)
3. Does God expect us to be merciful?
a. It is a basic part of the believer's life! "O people, the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what He requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)
b. It is more important than formal worship alone! "...I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices!" (Matthew 12:7)
Opportunities to be merciful in daily life abound for us! During this coming week, let's allow God's mercy to us to be reproduced in our mercy towards others. It will be like teflon in our interpersonal relationships!