What is mercy? The dictionary definition is: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence.
Aren’t you glad God has mercy toward us? He looks upon us with compassion and kindly forbearance. He is benevolent toward us – even when we may cause offence, even when we may treat Him as an enemy, or disregard Him, or ignore Him, or distrust Him, or fail to be thankful toward Him for all he does for us. What does God say about His mercy toward us? In Lamentation 3:22-23, He tells us that his compassion toward us never fails. So great is His faithfulness toward us, that He has new mercies for us every morning . . . no matter what we have done. We know from Psalm 136:1 that His mercy for us will endure forever . . . regardless of mistakes we make. In Ephesians 21:1-5, we learn that because of His great love for us, he is rich in mercy toward us . . . even though each of us has walked counter to the love of God in our lives. Are you thankful for the depth, and width, and breadth of His mercy for you? Are you blessed by the fact that His mercy for you will never, ever end – no matter what you do wrong or what mistakes you make? I know I am.
So, if that is how God treats us, shouldn’t we likewise be willing to walk in the same mercy toward those who have hurt, or offended, or slandered, or treated us with ill-will of any kind? Aren’t we supposed to be imitators of God? I am so glad that my sin is not greater than God’s mercy! That means that my mercy toward another should be greater than their sin toward me.
In His Word, God gives me some guidance on our responsibility to treat others with mercy, how to display kindness and forgiveness and benevolence toward those toward whom we might rather show retaliation or judgment. I see in Luke 6:27-36 that God shows me exactly how to show His love and mercy:
27 Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Need we know more? I think that pretty much covers it. Though this may seem like a tough instruction, it really isn’t. As we sow the love and mercy of God into others’ lives, it can’t help but come back to us. Hate begets hate, but love begets love, and mercy triumphs over judgment! It’s God’s way of doing things, and His ways are always higher and better than ours.
If you can think of someone who has done you wrong, start today, and show him or her the mercy of God! You will be richly blessed.
If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this: Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption. I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me. Amen.
Join us at River City Church, Sundays at 10:00 with Pastor Brian Bohrer, to hear the Spirit-filled, uncompromised Word of God. River City Church, 6906 MO-100, Washington, MO 63090