I read of a Christian judge saying once that what he loved about being a judge was it gave him the opportunity to be merciful. I like that. I don’t mean I like the terrible legal stupidities we hear about in terms of inappropriate comments or sentencing that inflicts further wrong on the victims of crime etc, I mean I like the idea that someone loves to show mercy. Do you love being merciful, letting people off with a debt of some sort that they owe you, for no other reason than the love of God in your heart? We don’t like the idea of “pity” these days it seems, but in Luke 18, in the story of a man in great debt whose debt was wiped out, that action is described as happening as a result of someone, the man wronged, having pity towards him and showing him mercy.
Nothing is said of how joyful the merciful man was in that story! However, we know from the Old and New Testaments, that God requires this of His people: that we love mercy. Are you glad that as God’s child, His Spirit within gives you power to walk in the mercy of God, to be like that judge, and delight in opportunities to be merciful?
Maybe you are struggling to get to that point. Maybe you want to say, “But wait a minute, the judge is not being personally wronged, hurt, etc, but I have been.” Well, forget about the judge of an earthly court. Think about Jesus. He can teach you by His Word and by His Spirit within you, how to love mercy, even when the wrong has been severe and very personally inflicted upon you.
Is there someone to let off the hook before your head hits the pillow tonight?
Oh and one more thing: I am not saying, “Do it for your benefit.” When I read about forgiving others in many Christian books, often the matter is cast in that light, the benefit it will bring to us when we forgive someone – we will no longer be held by bitterness, we will be free. I am not so sure that is how we should be thinking of mercy. It may well bring us benefit, but that is hardly Christian mercy.Rather, we are to be merciful for the good of the person who has done wrong to us. We not only release them from being in any sort of debt to us, but pray that God will be merciful and bless them, that good purpose from God will prevail in their lives. A benefit to us is a bonus, not the motivation behind showing mercy. We do not do it for psychological or emotional relief, even if that is a benefit that comes our way. We do it to be like our Father.