Do You Want to Be Happy? Choose Mercy
“A merciful person helps himself, but a cruel person hurts himself.” (Proverbs 11:17, GW)
God set up the world with universal principles. One of those principles is that the more you help other people, the more you will succeed and the happier you will be. Happiness doesn't come from living for yourself. Happiness comes from giving your life away and being merciful.
Proverbs 11:17 says, “A merciful person helps himself, but a cruel person hurts himself” (GW). That's another one of those universal principles: You get what you sow in life.
The greatest example of this in the Bible is the story of Job, who lost literally everything -- his health, family, job, and wealth. His friends came to him in his greatest hour of need. But did they show him mercy? No! They judged, criticized, and second guessed him. They kept telling him what he'd done wrong. “It's your own fault,” they said.
The great turnaround in Job's life occurred not when he thought about himself but when he mercifully prayed for the people who were criticizing him: “When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his wealth and happiness! In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before!” (Job 42:10 TLB)
Do you too show mercy to others -- even the ones who criticize and judge you? You can go through life as a judgmental person, or you can go through life as a merciful person. If you choose to condemn and judge, then you're going to make yourself and everyone around you miserable.
It’s your choice. You can be an agent of judgment in the world, or you can be an agent of mercy. When you choose mercy, life will be a whole lot more enjoyable for you and for the people around you.
Jesus says in the Beatitudes, “Happy are the kind and merciful” (Matthew 5:7 TLB). Do you want to be happy? Then be merciful.
Talk It Over
How does it make you feel when you choose to condemn someone? How do you feel when you choose to show mercy to someone who has done something wrong to you?
What does kindness have to do with mercy?
Think of someone who has criticized you. Can you pray for that person? Why or why not?
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This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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