The Quality Of Mercy
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."
(Matthew 5:7 NIV)
There was once a man who owed another man a great deal of
money. The borrower had been repaying his lender faithfully for
several months. Then he was hurt on the job and could no longer
work. He had some insurance, but it was barely enough for him and
his family to survive. The lender saw all of this and, in spite of the fact
that the man still owed many thousands of dollars, he instantly and
quietly forgave the debt.
The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
The Bard certainly had it right. Mercy, indeed, blesses both the one
who gives and the one who receives. Mercy is not only a quality in
God, but a quality that he demands from his people.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines mercy as
"compassionate treatment, especially of those under one's power."
We are under the power of God -- believers and non-believers alike.
Mercy is the foundation of God's covenant with his creation. It is the
driving force that helps Him forge his relationship with His children.
Our God is a merciful God.
"I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which
he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us
-- yes, the many good things he has done for the house of
Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses."
(Isaiah 63:7 NIV)
While God shows us mercy, He also directs us to show mercy to
others. The "compassionate treatment" that defines mercy includes
forgiveness. No matter what someone does to you, God directs you
to forgive them and not to seek retribution.
"Do not hate your brother in your heart... Do not seek revenge
or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your
neighbor as yourself...." (Leviticus 19:17-18 NIV)
This familiar refrain was repeated by Jesus a thousand years later.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your
soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The
second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no
commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31 NIV)
Forgiveness and mercy go hand in hand with both God and man. The
two are inseparable because the prerequisite of forgiveness is mercy.
Without mercy on earth, there can be no forgiveness in Heaven.
"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your
heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive
men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew
O God, Father of all things, we thank you for the infinite
mercy you have shown us, your children. May we love one
another as you have loved us. Give us strength so that we may
forgive our transgressors as you have forgiven us. We ask this
in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
[ by Charles Edwin Price -- from 'Themestream' ]