Extending Mercy

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Are you willing to love your enemies, to show mercy without expecting reciprocity, to leave justice in God’s hands?

“Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.” Matthew 5:7 (ceb)

The word mercy brings to mind “the least of these”—the poor, unfortunate and marginalized. I think of people who are essentially victims in my mind, people who’ve had a tough time—homeless people or starving children in Africa.

Certainly, people who are disadvantaged deserve to be shown God’s mercy. Jesus tells us that what we give is what we will get, when it comes to being merciful. And while we all want mercy shown to us, it’s harder to show it to others.

But what if we’re to show mercy not only to the downtrodden, but also to our enemies? Jesus has been challenging me lately to show mercy to people who criticize me. Who wrongly and unfairly attack me, persecute me, bother me. What would it look like to show mercy to the person who gossips about us at work, the extended family member who criticizes our decisions or tries to boss us around, or the “perfect” mom at the PTA meeting whose passive-aggressive comments make us feel small?

Extending mercy, especially to those who don’t deserve it, is something we cannot do on our own. We need Jesus to help us. But when we do it, with His help, it brings us an amazing feeling of empowerment and joy.

The Greek word translated “blessed” in most versions and “happy” in this one is makarizo, meaning supremely blessed, fortunate, happy and well-off. I want that, but the question is, am I willing to walk the tough path that will bring me that blessing? Am I willing to love my enemies, to show mercy without expecting reciprocity, to leave justice in God’s hands?

FAITH STEP: Think of someone who has wronged or hurt you. Write a letter (you don’t have to send it) to that person, forgiving them and showing them mercy.

Written by Keri Wyatt Kent

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