I recently watched a series of international spying and intrigue. These types of stories are popular for movie watchers. There are many common themes. This one featured an American abroad outraged by the injustice of a foreign government and he sets out to expose and depose the evildoers. In the process, he kills many people in order to chase down the culprit whom he sees as at fault. He is enraged and is posed to shoot this person. He is stopped by another, but you can see the battle within him and how unfair it seems to allow his enemy to live. Why does he not see himself as wrong in that he has just killed dozens in an illegal raid?
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Matthew 5:7 (CSB)
Mercy. Mercy is greatly lacking in the world we live in. Mercy is lacking in my world and the manner by which I respond. It seems we live in an especially mean-hearted world. We all want justice. We, therefore, feel justified in our responses. I suspect it has always been this way. Maybe what is different is how many people we can be mean to with so little effort. Because of the internet and social media, we can be mean in mass without staring anyone in the face.
God calls us to be merciful. What does it mean to show mercy? Is mercy just a dismissal of wrongdoing? Is it an abandonment of right and wrong? How does it bring justice to victims left in the wake of evil? When you show mercy, you are not excusing the person. That person may deserve some other treatment, but God calls us to show mercy. He calls us away from dealing out our own form of justice. God will, in the end, make all things right. Justice will be served. Each person must pay the price to God for their wrongdoings. If you are a believer, you do not escape accountability for your sins and mistakes. The difference is that Jesus has paid the price in your place. You have been shown mercy, go and do the same.
Showing mercy is hard. What we really want is justice. Justice belongs to God. We must be careful because if we demand others be held accountable. To insist that penalties be meted out means we must receive punishment for all our wrongs as well. We must also be held accountable. It is easy to demand more accountability of others than of ourselves. We are not so anxious to see justice served when we are at fault. When we do wrong, we want mercy. Can we not see that others are just as desperate for mercy, Godly mercy?
There is a quote that I have not been able to verify the source. It is not my own. It goes like this: Grace is getting something we don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting something we do deserve. We have both in Christ. We have both because of what He has done for us.
What conflicts are you currently experiencing? How are you doing? Is your attitude remotely correct? Jesus calls us to a different way. It is not a way of revenge and self-justification. It is an opposite way.
Today, to whom do you need to show mercy?
You are just and You are merciful. Thank You for pouring out mercy on me. I confess that I have sinned against You and against others. I am in need of mercy. I confess that I have not treated others in the same way You have treated me. Forgive me and enable me through the power of the Holy Spirit to treat others with Your mercy and grace. Help me to place justice in your hands.