I stagger and am in awe of the mercy that God shows to me each day. Who am I that He would show me mercy?
In Matthew 5:7, in the amazing list of Beatitudes, Jesus says “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” As a child of God we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are a new creation. Being merciful is a reflection of God that is lived out and demonstrated in that new creation. It is a part of who we are, how we think, and how we act.
Why does this matter? Why should we be merciful? Let me give just three reasons…(there are plenty more though)
First, being merciful is evidence of who we are in Christ. It gives testimony to the working of God in our lives and allows us to demonstrate the mercy of God that he has shown towards us. We live our lives in the light of the truth that we will not be judged for our sins but will instead be shown mercy.
Second, it is in the light of His mercy that we live a life of sacrifice for Him. Paul reminds us in Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” In the light of, and simply because of the mercies of God, we live our lives as spiritual worship to God. We present ourselves as that living sacrifice, in Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, because of the abundant and undeserved mercy that he has shown us.
Lastly, we are commanded to be merciful. In Luke 6:36 Jesus gives perhaps the most simple and concrete command to his followers. He says “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” This command sounds a lot like the Lord’s command to “Be holy because I am holy” found in Leviticus 11, 19, and 20 as well as in Peter’s reminder to the church found in 1 Peter 1:16. We cannot be perfectly merciful in the same manner that God is merciful any more than we can be completely holy. But mercy is a part of God’s character and we are to reflect His mercy to others. We are to demonstrate, declare, and show people of the mercy that He has shown to us. We reflect His mercy when we give testimony to His sustaining work in our lives. We reflect His mercy when we give a reason for the hope that is within us. We reflect His mercy when we live our lives for Him and only Him. That is what mercy looks like when it is reflected in our lives.
Mercy, without reflecting and crediting its Author and Creator, is simply human magnanimousness. True mercy is a reflection of Almighty God, His richness, and gives Him alone all the honor and glory!