The quality of mercy - Hope 103.2

The quality of mercy

By David ReayMonday 19 Oct 2015LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Matthew 5:7

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. (NRSV)

Being harshly judgemental towards others is an ugly characteristic in any individual. It is particularly unattractive in followers of Jesus. Eagerly pouncing on the sins of others is not a sign of spiritual discernment or personal holiness. It is a sign of arrogance and hypocrisy.

This does not mean we stay silent in the face of wrongdoing. We are bidden elsewhere in Scripture to gently restore those who go astray. Jesus himself was certainly not soft on sin. But we remain aware of our own great need for mercy.

We don’t blind ourselves to the shortcomings of others, yet nor do we let those shortcomings dominate our relationships with them. Mercy doesn’t overlook sin; it recognises that God’s just punishment of sin was exhausted on the cross. Mercy has thus triumphed over judgement.

Nor does this beatitude tell us that we earn God’s mercy by showing mercy. By definition, we can’t earn mercy: it is always a gift. Rather we are reminded that those who have gratefully received such mercy will inevitably be inclined to show mercy to others. If we are never so inclined, then we need to ask ourselves if we have ever tasted mercy for ourselves.

I pray to God he will not treat me harshly as my sins deserve. I then resolve to not treat others harshly. Those who receive mercy give mercy.

David Reay

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