Mercy is defined as compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.The double blessing comes when one gives it and when one takes it. There are so many words that come to mind when you say the word mercy: leniency · clemency · compassion · grace · pity · charity · forgiveness · forbearance · quarter · humanity · soft-heartedness · tenderheartedness · kindness · sympathy · liberality · indulgence · tolerance · generosity · magnanimity · beneficence.
The greatest mercy comes from God! He has given us the gift and the power to share that mercy with others by getting to be merciful! Don’t just hold onto the mercy, pass it on to others because they need it too!
Psalm 6, Matthew 5:43-48, Matthew 6:1-24, Genesis 14, Genesis 15, Genesis 16
Where are you at today? Are you in need of mercy? Are you in a tough situation? Things not going the way you expected? Things going off course? Do you know what is going on? Do you know the reason or the source of it? Will you cry out to God for mercy? Will you ask Jesus to help? Today’s reading provides us an example of what to do and where to turn from David…
1 Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
3 My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?
4 Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.
5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?
6 I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.
8 Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.
God is love! God is merciful! So no matter how you got to this point, cry out to Him! And be able to go beyond it! Be able to share it with others by showing them mercy! Not just your buddies, but also those who are testing or trying or attacking you! Remember what Jesus tells us about how to deal with our enemies and those who persecute us?
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
–from Matthew 5
Let’s be nice to them! Let’s pour out love and pray for them! Remember what the Proverb says…
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. 22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. –from Proverbs 25
As always Jesus calls us to a higher calling, to raise the bar, and to just do it out of love! To be merciful to them! Showing mercy is really sharing love, mercy is a crucial and essential part of love! So let’s be God’s hands extended and share His love with the world around us!
We will always have people who are in need, the poor, and the sick. In Mark 14, Jesus reminds them and tells us:
The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.
–from Mark 14:7
So let’s review from today’s devotional how Jesus shows us we can be and find a way to be merciful…
Jesus gives three reasons in the passage why you should be merciful towards those who have wronged you:
- First, to have mercy on your enemies is to imitate your Father in heaven – ‘that you may be children of your Father in heaven’ (v.45a). God’s mercy extends to those who are hostile towards him: ‘He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’ (v.45b).
- Second, to have mercy like this marks you out from the world: ‘If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?’ (v.46). We tend only to love people who are like us, or whom we like. But you are called to be different. You are called to what Dietrich Bonhoeffer referred to as ‘the “extraordinary”… the hallmark of the Christian’.
- Third, there is a connection between forgiving and receiving forgiveness. We cannot receive God’s mercy ourselves and then show no mercy to others. We do not earn forgiveness by forgiving others, but Jesus says that our forgiveness of others is essential to receiving forgiveness from God. ‘You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part’ (6:14b–15, MSG). Daily, receive mercy and forgiveness, and daily have mercy and forgive others.
Jesus also explains how you can express this mercy practically in what you do. He highlights the importance of prayer. He tells you to ‘pray for those who persecute you’ (5:44). Praying for your enemies helps you to see them as God sees them. In prayer you stand side by side with them, take their guilt and distress on yourself, and plead to God for them. Prayer is the acid-test of love. Coming into the light of God’s presence reveals the true feelings in the depths of our hearts.
The theme of mercy is also at the heart of the Lord’s Prayer: ‘Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors’ (6:12). (Of course, there is much besides mercy in this prayer, which we will look at later when we encounter it in the other Gospels.)
When we pray, Jesus teaches us to:
- Keep it quiet
‘Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God’ (v.6a, MSG).
- Keep it honest
‘Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage’ (v.6b, MSG).
- Keep it simple
‘With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply’ (v.9a, MSG).
Finally, mercy should also be at the heart of our giving. Generosity is a form of having mercy on others. ‘When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it – quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out’ (vv.3–4, MSG).
–from Day 7 – Bible In One Year 2017
So let’s get back to basics! Let’s go back to the beginning and go to God for mercy! Let’s go to Him to learn about true mercy! Let’s go to Him for mercy! Let’s allow that mercy to fill us to overflowing that we may pour it out into the lives of the people around us!
Let’s consider two ways we can receive God’s mercy today! First thru the one who gave His all that we can be reconciled to God and be called children of God! Let’s receive Jesus into our lives today! Let’s invite Him into our hearts and lives so that we can walk out each day arm in arm with Him! Second thru believing Him, trusting Him, putting our confidence in Him, allowing our conviction to be in Him, and allowing Him to be the hope that is within us! Let’s put our faith in God in order that we may receive His mercy today and every day!
As we close today’s devotional reading with Genesis 14:1-16:16, let’s take hold of God’s mercy! Let’s build up our relationship with Jesus! Let’s build up our faith in God!