Daily Bread # 20
This is a lesson in character building for those in the kingdom
“Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.”
If reciprocity is one of the keys used in maintaining a meaningful relationship towards one another and God, then an indispensable element in this mutual benefit is “mercy.” “Mercy” is compassion in action. At the core of our being is this compelling word. This is the first word in the list of virtues that instead of turning inwardly to do something for ourselves, we make others our focus by extending them compassion since we are recipients of the same. We know that the ultimate source of mercy is God. We read time and time again in many of Paul’s salutations in which he uses a very familiar word formula: “Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”
For both Paul and Peter one does not get into the body of their letters before first seeing qualities about God and Christ that must not escape our attention. The God with who we have to do is a God of mercy and Jesus Christ is fittingly describe as the merciful and faithful high priest (Heb. 2:17). Since “mercy” is from God and the Lord Jesus Christ, then to whom is this mercy shown and why? The Holy Spirit in Ephesians 2:1-3 paints one of the ugliest pictures of our past, and then impressed upon us our inability to provide the remedy that could get us out of that grim situation in which we plunge ourselves. We were dead in trespasses and sin. “But God who is rich in mercy resurrected us with Christ, and gave us a place to be seated in Christ” (Eph. 2:4-6). Notice that we have no reference, whatsoever, of any good deed done by us that caused God to respond to us so favorably. Verse 8 painfully reminds us of a debt God has every right holding over our head but chose not to.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is
not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works,
so that no one may boast. (Eph. 2:8-9)
There is not a human being out there who has done more harm to his fellow human that we have done to God. If I can count ten infractions I did to one person, then I need to multiply these ten trespasses by a hundred in my dealing with God – yet when I got up this morning and begin this Daily Bread an Old Testament passage that keeps pounding in my head is:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lam. 3:22-23).
I have many reasons to be merciful to others despite the hurt they might have caused me. I just gave you two of those reasons. I don’t need an apology, and I am not looking for one for God has been too good to me. All I need to do is genuinely and on a continuous basis pray for those who might have wronged me – knowing that the good God of heaven is doing so much more for me and then some.
- Do I have a reason to be merciful today? Yes! Lamentations 3:22-23.
- Another reason why I ought to be merciful is because mercy begets mercy (Matt. 5:7).
- I don’t fall into the trap of asking myself who is deserving of mercy (especially those who might have wronged me); the moment I do that, then I have just made a verdict of God’s mercy on me.
- May we go out today and be the best merciful servants we are called to be for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.
The Beltway Church of Christ is located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in Prince George’s County, MD near Joint Base Andrews.