Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.
John piper has described mercy as : an eye for distress, a heart of pity, an effort to help, in spite of hostility.’
At the start of last year i travelled to Kenya and spent three months there as part of a Christian mission programme. Whilst working at one of the schools within a rather poor area, i had my mobile phone and a large amount of money stolen from my bag. I knew who had taken my things, and more than reacting in anger or being upset over the worth of them… i was just hurt that people i had spent the previous month building relationships with, and people who i had begun to trust would do this. I had to leave the school to work elsewhere and the situation was never really resolved. I didn’t see anyone involved until a few weeks later that I went to work in another orphanage on the other side of town. As i walked in I saw before me a lady who had been there the day my phone was stolen, and whom i believed to have been a part of it. Before i had much time to formulate ideas she threw her arms out to me. My mind toyed with a range of emotions at this, in that moment I stubbornly continued to believe the walls i’d built up in my defence would remain, that i wouldn’t and couldn’t give in. This attitude of course was wrong. I put out my arms and i hugged her back, its what Jesus would have done and though my heart at first rebelled against the idea, i needed to cleanse myself of any bitterness and to loose the chains which were binding my heart to forgive, otherwise i’d have become enslaved to my own emotions.
Of course this is a meagre example of mercy yet it taught me so much and brought me to such a place where i could understand in greater depth the true mercy and love Jesus has poured out for His children… which is the promise He gives to us in this verse. We deserved to be punished and to face a future of destruction, yet through Jesus dying on the cross and showing mercy to fallen mankind, He has given us the hope of everlasting life. Instead of separation we will be dwelling in His presence.
With Gods saving mercy comes our ability to go and show mercy to others. Gods mercy is neither through reward nor merit… this would cause our salvation to be through works and not by faith. Gods grace and mercy is free. The mercy that God gives, is the blessing of God. Mercy comes form mercy and our mercy to each other should come from Gods mercy to us.
Lets ask God to open our eyes to the physical needs of those around us…that we can respond with Christ like compassion. That we will shine like lights in this fallen world and that we will be a city on a hill, a city that cannot be hidden, a light that never falters nor fades.