Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. –Luke 6:36 NIV
Mercy is one of the more challenging characteristics of Christians. It is a trait that sets us apart from non-believers. Our human tendency is to give people what we think they deserve. If someone has shown kindness, we repay them with kindness. But, if he or she has slighted us, we are inclined to retaliate with an unkind look, word, or action. Yet, mercy is the act of withholding punishment from one whom we perceive deserves it.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NIV). He explains that mercy is what distinguishes us from non-believers. “And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that” (Luke 6:33 NIV).
Our Lord has demonstrated ultimate mercy to us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for our sins. Throughout the day, you will have opportunities to show mercy, whether it is to an inattentive server at a restaurant or to a friend who disappeared from your life and is now trying to rekindle the friendship. Be alert for ways that you could show mercy today.
- Pray for a keen awareness as to ways that you could show mercy to everyone you encounter.
- Pray for strength in resisting the urge to retaliate when someone has been unkind.