Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Matthew 5 : 7
Score world leaders today and mercy probably would not be high on the list. Can you think of any current leader that you would describe as ‘merciful’ or as known for their acts of mercy? Yet of all the things Jesus could have mentioned in the beatitudes he gave a place for mercy. Why?
Mercy is very closely allied to grace. It is an action towards another that is more for their benefit than yours. It might well carry a cost to the person being merciful that they will never see repaid. It certainly requires a sacrifice even on an emotional level. More so when you consider the natural human reaction is to retaliate or get our own back. Remember when your parents asked why you got into a fight or argument and the answer was ‘they’ started it? Our natural inclination is not to be merciful.
Jesus makes clear in this that his followers are to be merciful because it is through their actions in demonstrating mercy that others will in turn be merciful. We will create the world around us by our actions. If that is to be a merciful world it will require us to first of all be merciful.
Right now there are lots of people talking lots of words about the kind of world that will emerge post Covid-19. How many of them have you heard speak of a merciful world?
Right now, lots of people in lots of churches are speaking about what kind of church will emerge post Covid-19. How man of them have you heard speak of a merciful church?
Perhaps Jesus is showing us the way by calling us to be merciful. Of all the things the church might be known for, it could do a lot worse than being known for mercy.
Prayer: When life is hard, when its been a long day, when I don’t want to have to give any more of myself; may I not forget mercy. When I react to others, when people let me down and I let them down; may I be known for my mercy. Make mercy my friend and my companion. Help me to be quick with my mercy and slow with my anger. Help me do this every single day.
Action: Do at least 1 merciful act every day for the next week.