January 25

Text: Matthew 5:7

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (NASB)

We never realize the true value of a quality until we receive the same quality at a moment of dire need.  Mercy is a quality that is easy to admire, but hard to give.  Many who are religious admire the giving of mercy (especially when they are on the receiving end), but they find it extremely difficult to be merciful.

Why?  Why is mercy so wonderful to receive but so hard to give?  The core of mercy is found in showing kindness to a personal enemy.  It is simple to become someone’s enemy (that is downright easy), but it is extremely difficult to be kind to someone who is “my” enemy.  For some reason, most people do not think anyone should mix kindness and enemies.

According to most, people should show kindness only to those who “deserve” kindness.  Therein is the problem.  Mercy can be shown primarily to personal enemies—even worse, primarily to those we hate.  Friends (those who never caused us hurt) “deserve” kindness.  Enemies “deserve” what they get—the more consequences the better!

The problem with mercy: it can be given only to those who do not “deserve” any expression of kindness.  Those who “deserve” mercy do not need it.  Those who need mercy do not “deserve” it.  Is not mercy by definition kindness shown to the guilty?  Does mercy not say to remove the consequences from the person who violated the law?  Is mercy not shown where guilt is unquestionable?  Those who truly receive mercy never deserve it!

Then why show mercy?  It is a God-like action.  If God gave each of us what we deserved, what would each of us receive?  A scary thought: God will treat each of us in the manner we treat other people.

Suggestion for reflection: Think about how you treat the worst of other people in your life.  (Read Proverbs 11:17-31.)

David's Home Page Previous Day Index Next Day

 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell