Mercy Could Be Your Greatest Witness
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36, NIV)
In an increasingly unkind world, your greatest Christian witness is showing people mercy.
Have you noticed how unmerciful and unforgiving our world is? It seems the highest form of humor is the put-down. Even comedians get paid for their sarcastic and cynical jabs at others.
But when people see you showing mercy, especially considering how rude and mean society has become, they’ll say, “That’s what I expect a Christian to be like—like Jesus.”
Jesus says in Luke 6:36, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (NIV).
There are four things you can do to build a lifestyle of mercy. We’ll look at two today and two tomorrow.
Start looking and listening for people’s needs. Whose needs? The needs of people in your neighborhood, at your work, and in your family. Mercy always begins with awareness. If you’re not aware, then you don’t care.
The Bible says, “Look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own” (Philippians 2:4 GNT).
You don’t struggle to be merciful because you’re a bad person. It’s because you’re too busy. Busyness is the number one destroyer of mercy in your life. When you’re moving from event to event and task to task, it’s hard to pay attention to the people around you. And when you’re not looking and listening for people’s needs, it’s nearly impossible to be merciful.
Don’t be offended by the sins of others. You can’t say, “Go clean up your life, and then I will accept you.” No—mercy is unconditional! If you’re going to show mercy to people, you can’t be offended by them. You can’t minister to people if you’re looking down on them.
Jesus wasn’t offended by people’s sins. In fact, he hung out with the worst kinds of sinners. He was even accused of “guilt by association” because he spent time with people who were corrupt, unloving, and manipulative.
This doesn’t mean Jesus approved of everything they did. God doesn’t approve of everything you do, but he accepts you completely. Showing mercy doesn’t mean you say everything someone does is okay. Drug addiction and adultery, for example, are not okay.
But you can still show mercy. You can do for others what Christ has done for you.
“Most importantly, love each other deeply. Love has a way of not looking at others’ sins” (1 Peter 4:8 ICB).
Talk It Over
Why is mercy so hard to find in the world today?
Who has shown mercy to you, even when you didn’t deserve it? What were the circumstances?
Have you ever withheld mercy from someone because you didn’t agree with their lifestyle? If so, how might you react to them differently today?
This devotional © 2022 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.