Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. ~Luke 6:36
Perhaps of the many graces and virtues of the Christian life, mercy is one of the more challenging to apply and put in action. Mercy is showing pity, compassion, and longsuffering to another person. Specifically, it is applying it to someone who might be deserving of our judgment, or to someone who is adversarial to us. It is being forgiving and seeking restoration in spite of injustice that has been committed. This morning we are examining the exercise of mercy.
There is the model for mercy.
The best and most compelling model for mercy is that of our heavenly Father. God by His very nature is referred to as being merciful. The justice of God demands that sin be punished and dealt with. The mercy of God extends pity and forgiveness in spite of our erring ways. God’s mercy is exemplified by his forgiveness of our sins. We are completely pardoned and expunged of our sin. He gives us a new and clean start. He looks at us as if we never sinned.
There is the manifestation of mercy.
In Luke 6:35, we are told that God is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. God extends mercy to even those who are incorrigible and thoughtless in their response to him. We see His mercy through His patient longsuffering. God puts up with us in spite of our repeated sins, mistakes and foolishness. God gives a second, third and many more opportunities to get things right. He blesses the most unthankful people with good health, good days and success. He allows hardened sinners to hear the gospel over and over again so that he or she might get saved. The manifestation of mercy is God’s rich kindness to the unlovely and unthankful.
There is the mandate for mercy.
Jesus told those listening to Him preach, “be ye therefore merciful even as your Father also is merciful.” It is not an option to be considered, but an obligation to be obeyed. First, we must pray for a heart of mercy. The very people we are being asked to show mercy towards are the people who can be the hardest to deal with. Second, we must die to the flesh every day. We must die to bitter feelings, resentment and hostility to hurtful people. Third, we must be willing to forgive seventy times seven times. We must be willing to do good, expecting nothing in return. We must pray for those who despitefully use us and do wrong to us. We must be willing to heap coals of fire upon their heads.
The demonstration of mercy is not natural: it is supernatural. It is difficult, but I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. It is not ordinary, but it is extraordinary. It is one of the key ways we demonstrate that we are children of the Highest.
How is your mercy doing? Is this an area of your life that you need a supernatural work of God in your life for? Mercy is one of the ways our testimony for Jesus is compelling and results in people coming to Christ. Take time today to pray for a heart of mercy.
Have a merciful God morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Obadiah-Jonah