A 40 Day Journey to Becoming Like the One We Follow
Day 15: Mercy (Matthew 5:7)
It’s a common trope in movies. The good guy sees the bad guy in a dire predicament. The good guy is moved to show mercy to the bad guy. The bad guy takes advantage of that mercy to strike out agains the good guy again. And, because this is Hollywood, the actions of the bad guy lead to his own destruction.
You’ve seen that movie, right?
Mercy is mocked as weakness. Unfortunately it’s not just in movies anymore. We see it in sports, in our workplaces, and in politics. We’ve got to be strong and do anything to get ahead, no matter who you have to step on to reach the top. How dare we have a moment of mercy or compassion toward our opponent.
That is, until we mess up and want mercy for ourselves.
One of the most startling stories Jesus told was “the unforgiving servant.” One servant owed his master many lifetimes of debt that he could never repay. He asked for mercy and was given it by his master. The debt was erased. But then this servant goes and finds another servant who owed him like $50. When that servant couldn’t pay him back, the first had the second arrested. Word got back to the master who took matters into his own hands. It did not end well for that first servant.
Jesus has shown us immense mercy, far beyond measure. He wiped away the debt we had racked up because of our sin. He does not condemn us or judge us even though we deserve it.
Our calling is to be as merciful towards others as God has been toward us. The merciful will be shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. The world has enough critics and judges. Be merciful instead.