Why should I be merciful?
Isn’t it enough that I forgive, I now need extend mercy to others? Hmm…how many times have you secretly had these thoughts? If you are like me, you engaged in this line of thinking more often than you want to admit. Mercy is a tough virtue to “want” to grasp, especially from a “giving mercy” perspective. We naturally think it’s a one way proposition; the other guy gets all the mercy.
“What’s in it for me?”
As human beings, we always want a quid-pro-quo (I do something for you, you do something for me). However, that is contrary to how mercy works. By providing that softer attitude toward a repentant sinner, rather than the deserved punishment, we give the person a second chance.
So, let me shed some light on what’s in it for you to be merciful:
- “For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy” (James 2:13).
- “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt 5:7).
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
From these three bible verses I glean the following:
- Mercy will be extended to the extent that we are merciful toward others. Ouch!
- If I grant mercy to others, then I will receive mercy from God for the things I have done wrong.
- I am created in the image and likeness of God, who is merciful. Therefore, I am called by Jesus to imitate Him who was merciful toward others.
Jesus set the example, providing the road map for us to follow. It’s up to us to decide if we are willing to be merciful toward others. James 2:13 resonated sufficiently enough with me, that I am willing to embrace the virtue of mercy. I will seek out opportunities to be more merciful toward others. How about you?
What are some of the ways that we can express mercy toward others? We’ll answer that question in our next reflection on the virtue of mercy. Don’t miss it!