“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” -Matthew 5:7 (NIV)
We are very hypocritical when it comes to the idea of showing mercy. On the one hand, we think of it as something that only the weak and particularly gullible show to those who are in an unfavorable position under them. We ask ourselves what right they have to demand clemency from us. What have they done to deserve merciful treatment? We refrain from showing mercy because for the most part it is certainly not advantageous to us. Yet when we are shown unconditional mercy, how often do we seek to capitalize on it? We see it as a chance to restore ourselves and our reputations while conveniently forgetting to be merciful to those who are in a similar position as we were when we were shown mercy.
If we have adopted such a self-serving view of mercy, we cannot expect mercy to be shown to us. In this life, where our positions are always in a transitory state, we cannot demand that pity and forgiveness be given to us in our times of weakness, when we have failed to display the same qualities towards others in our times of strength. We as sinners, as willful transgressors of God’s holy standards, are not deserving of divine mercy. But despite this, God sent Christ for all of humanity so that through Him we may be freed from our wickedness and rest in the promise of everlasting life. In His perfection and eternity He lacks nothing, and therefore He gains nothing from showing mercy to us. However, it is because of His great love for us that He seeks to pardon us for our sin and reconcile us to Himself for our benefit; so that we may not destroy ourselves as a result of our bondage to sin. As children of Christ we are required to show the selfless mercy which was shown to us by Christ Himself. But until we choose Him as Lord and allow Him to carry out His restorative work in our lives, we will not be able to ascertain how that looks like. Only when we have accepted Christ into our hearts and allowed His Spirit to enable us in living up to the righteousness we have through Him will we be able to show that unconditional mercy to others; drawing them into the knowledge of who Christ is and what He can do for them.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.