Luke 6:36“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
Here is a command. Be merciful. How merciful? Merciful based on what standard? The standard, as always; the ‘north’ on our moral compass is God Himself.
The biblical meaning of mercy is exceedingly rich and complicated, as evidenced by the fact that several Hebrew and Greek words are needed to comprehend the many-sided concept.
Consequently, there are many synonyms employed in translation to express the dimensions of mercy, such as “kindness,” “lovingkindness,” “goodness,” “grace,” “favor,” “pity,” “compassion,” and “steadfast love.”
Prominent in the concept of mercy is the compassionate disposition to forgive an offender or adversary and to help or spare him in his sorry plight.
This is obviously typified in God’s self-sacrifice to conquer sin, Satan and death. Forgiveness and relief from a sorry plight. This is the nature of mercy.
When your child offends, breaks the rules and sins against God. When your spouse says something in public they shouldn’t, doesn’t fulfill their vows to provide, love, honor, obey, respect, cover or lead.
When a friend is faithless, the stranger rude, the co-worker dishonest, the family member strains the relationship with sin.
Do you stand in the gap with them? Do you walk there with them in their sin because you know all too well what it is to sin, offend, disobey and fall short of God’s glory? Do you show mercy or do you condemn?
Do you throw your hands in the air and say in your “perfection” how and why do people act this way? What’s wrong with them, as if you don’t act just the same?
You sin, so you are on the side of those who sin. You were dead in your sins and received forgiveness and so you are on the side of everyone who offends and needs forgiveness.
God has shown you mercy, so you are on the side of everyone who needs to receive mercy. Mercy is crucial to our relationships because our relationships are with people who sin, who fall, who hurt, and who need mercy and compassion and forgiveness.
To show mercy isn’t ignoring the need for repentance, restoration or discipline, its acknowledging the need of repentance, restoration and discipline.
To show mercy is to show people the one who forgives, the one who is willing to walk with us in death to save us from death. To show mercy is to show forgiveness to people who don’t deserve it, just like the forgiveness you received that you didn’t deserve.
To walk amongst sinners with mercy is to show forth the God who walked amongst sinners to save them.
To show mercy means that when you are sinned against, you put your arm around the one who sinned against you and say, “I understand. You don’t have the grace for me, you can’t keep God’s law, to love others as yourself, is too hard for you and I know because it’s the same for me. We can’t obey, we can’t love but God has provided a way, God has forgiven us in His Son and provided that forgiveness to us to share one with another.”
To show mercy is not to turn on offense in anger, but to stand with the offender and turn to the word of God and the one who saves; seeking the grace and reconciliation so generously provided to us in Jesus Christ.