Mercy and Grace

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy”  Matthew 5:7

I confess that I love God’s mercy! And not only do I love it, I need His mercy everyday.

If I receive His mercy, then I need to extend that same generousity and grace to others. I love this description of mercy from Merriam-Webster:

~ kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly

 ~ kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation

~ compassion or forbearance shown, especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power; also :  lenient or compassionate treatment

~ compassionate treatment of those in distress

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love it when someone is gentle with me when I’m having a hard time. And I’m astounded and humbled when someone graciously and patiently responds to me when I have been less than gracious and patient with them!

Mercy and forgiveness can be demonstrated in so many ways:

* Offer a word of encouragement to a busy cashier. I can guarantee they have heard and felt the pressure of other people’s irritation. We can be the bright spot in their day.

* Let someone steal the parking space you were waiting for. Take a deep breath and find another one. While annoying, it’s not worth the drama. Ask God to bless them with peace in their day, too.

* When your spouse comes home and fills you in on their bad day– just listen. Ask God for the ability to nurture and love them even though you are tired too. Hug them and tell them you love them. God will return the favor to you.

I think the reason some people have such a hard time with this is because they have never experienced true mercy. Or they do not see or acknowledge their own weaknesses, and are therefore harsh with others. This is particularly hard for people who are “strong” and/or gifted in their life.

I put strong in quotation marks for a reason. Strength is an illusion. If you ever find yourself in a position of weakness for any reason, you will know what I mean. True strength is manifested through faith in God and His ability to work through us and on our behalf. We are never told to be strong in ourselves, but in Christ:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Ephesians 6:10

And as far as being gifted, well– it’s a gift. We are simply the recipient, not the originator of the ability or talent…so we need to recognize it as such.

I wish I could tell you that I have learned to be merciful because I read it once in the bible, understood it, then went off with flowers in hand and love in my heart, blessing everyone I met…but that is not the case. I have come face-to-face with my own weaknesses, short-comings and failures. I have been humbled by the love and compassion God has shown me throughout my life. I have received forgiveness when I didn’t deserve it, kindness when I could have been rejected or rebuked and help when I was emotionally overwhelmed or physically unable. God has sent people to encourage me when I have been stressed out and afraid, to help me when I was sick and others to gently teach me when I didn’t understand. I am so grateful for all the love and mercy He has shown me, how can I not turn around and show others the same?

Mercy in action

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