Day 69- The Merciful Mile

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36

I often speak of mercy at work, in my daily routine and at home. It’s one of the great lessons that I have learned in my own life as God’s forgiveness and mercy is what saved my soul. In my own journey, God’s love for me covered many of my own missteps. The difference was, I kept walking towards the light, as grueling and daunting as that sometimes was.

And mercy comes in many forms. It comes in both pardon and punishment, feeding and hunger. These lessons are difficult for many to understand at the time, but the Lord shows us that in time, we will understand.

For me, mercy is the pre-cursor to understanding forgiveness. It is the foundation. If you can understand mercy, you will be able to forgive. When God teaches us to be merciful, He teaches us the way of the Father.

Mercy is defined as, “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” (Oxford Dictionary). It is doing the opposite of what the world would consider the “right” thing. It is what I believe is one of the hardest attributes of God to imitate.

But if we back up some and look at the word “be,” in today’s scripture, we can sit and ponder on how to get there. The word “be” in this scripture, actually means to come into being, to emerge, become, transitioning from one point to another; a change of condition, state or place. ” (Biblehub, defintion of ginomai).

So to “be” merciful is a becoming which implies a movement of the soul, a closeness towards God. This may explain why it is so hard to forgive in situations where we feel that we have been wronged, especially when we have searched ourselves and know that we have done nothing to contribute to the situation.

Mercy is an especially popular term in my field of criminal justice. It is the description given when a convicted man asks for a lighter sentence, or an imprisoned man asks for pardon. Walk into any criminal courtroom and you will find a defendant asking for mercy from a judge. Why?

Because sometimes a man has to be physically shackled to understand the consequences of his actions

This can provide us a simile for life. When we have searched ourselves, examined our own conscious and found nothing, are we then able to turn our thoughts to the person who wronged us and see them as the shackled prisoner in front of the judge? No, they may not have that state of awareness or consciousness of their sin, but we certainly do. Why? Because we ultimately know that if a man does not work out their salvation with fear and trembling on this earth, they will be playing that scene of the criminal before a judge in another place.

And if you here on this earth are trying to get to heaven, trying to become a saint and conform your life to the law and will of God, and haven’t shown mercy, then are you not yourself guilty of the same crime? One man fails to be merciful while the other fails to ask for mercy. We are just as guilty as the other…

So today, if you are struggling with unforgiveness towards anyone, think first of mercy. The extension of compassion on your Father’s behalf. See that offender as the shackled criminal in the judgment court before God.

Because that offender may be you.

Heavenly Father,

The concept of mercy is so hard. Give me the grace to understand it and then to accept it so I can extend it. Soften my heart for those who have hurt me and who go on hurting other people. Help me understand mercy so that I can then forgive, which is what you ask. Being perfect as you are perfect means doing the things that you do without question. So God, make me more like you.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

6 thoughts on “Day 69- The Merciful Mile

  1. Shlomi Presser

    This concept is both very difficult to understand, and very difficult to contend with. Thanks for making it a bit easier to understand… now the hard part, acting on it. Thanks for the conviction. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jock McSporran

    Melissa – sorry to dissent, but …..

    Of course, all Christians understand what is meant in Hosea 6v6 and Matthew 9v13 by `I desire mercy, not sacrifice’, but I disagree with the term `mercy’ being used in the context of criminal justice.

    The pertinent verses are from Matthew 5:

    Matthew 5v23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

    25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

    If your adversary has something against you, then you should settle long before you get to court. The court here is (of course) Divine Judgement, but the basic idea (as you put in your post) is that if we aren’t merciful towards others in this life then we shouldn’t expect any mercy from God when we get to the next – and we should expect eternal punishment.

    Showing mercy implies giving up our own rights. But while we should give up our own rights in order to be merciful to those who have wronged us, we should not give up other peoples rights. This is an important Christian principle: for example – I commit a very great sin if I give up the rights of my family in order to goof off evangelising, or some other activity whereby they don’t see me. In a criminal court, the judge cannot arbitrarily choose to give up the rights of the victim in order to show mercy to the criminal.

    This would make the law arbitrary, whereas criminal justice has to be fair, with a fair scale of charges and it has to be seen to be fair – otherwise society very quickly falls apart.

    So either your colleagues are using the term `mercy’ in a very mistaken context, or else there is something seriously wrong with the criminal justice system.

    Liked by 1 person

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