“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.
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,