How To Show Mercy
Read This: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:36-37)
Think: An apology doesn’t make everything okay. It doesn’t take away the sting of betrayal, mend a broken heart, or instantaneously re-establish trust. But it’s a start. In the same way, forgiving someone isn’t saying everything is okay. It doesn’t turn back the clock or numb our emotions. But it’s the beginning of God’s work in and through us.
God is about reconciliation and that means not giving us what we deserve. In Matthew 18:23 Jesus tells a parable about a king who forgave one of his slaves a large sum of money. The very same slave came across a slave who owed him a relatively small amount of money. Instead of showing him the same kindness he had received, he grabbed him, choked him, and threw him in jail. The king heard what happened and became angry saying, “Should you not have shown mercy for your fellow slave, just as I showed it to you?” (vs. 33).
We’ve all seen the effects of withholding forgiveness as well as the humility to receive. Amongst family members, friends, neighbors, or co-workers relationships are broken and people’s hearts are hardened. Does anything good come from us trying to give someone what we think they deserve? Rather Romans 2:4 says, “do [you] not know that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?” It’s not the yelling, name-calling, getting even, or giving a piece of our mind that restores a relationship, it’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
That is a glimpse of who God is. It’s hard to give, but it may be equally hard to accept. Sometimes it makes us feel worse; it would be easier to suffer the consequences of our poor choices. Mercy breaks down our defenses and our pride, and so begins the journey to reconciliation.
Ask: Think back to a recent conflict. Could you have reflected Christ more clearly in your reactions? What could you have done differently?
Pray: Ask God to help you do what is required of you, “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NIV)