I'm a daughter, granddaughter & niece of pastors. I love God & studying the Bible and want to empower others to do the same.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. -Matthew 5:7
Shakespeare said in The Merchant of Venice:
“The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown.”
Mercy is punishment withheld from one who deserves it, someone who has committed a crime, an injustice, has hurt another, and deserves punishment. It is a symptom of forgiveness. And when it is given, it is also received. It brings healing. It helps the one unjustly wronged to let go of the wrong. Some crimes need the full brunt of a punishment because the doer is unrepentant, not in the least sorry, and will, if given the chance, commit the act again. But to the one who is contrite, sorrowful, repentant, disgusted by their mistake, sin, or crime, to that one, mercy is a balm and produces gratitude. A wise monarch, ruler, leader, person in power, knows when to deliver mercy, and upon whom. They know that someone forgiven a great debt will be grateful, will remember their indebtedness, and it will change them. The character Shylock in Shakespeare’s play showed no mercy, and so he was shown none. In the movie version of The Count of Monte Cristo, Jacopo, a thief, was shown mercy, and the man became a willing, faithful, obedient, life-long servant to the man who spared his life. A person who has been granted mercy is typically merciful to others. A person who grants mercy to others will be shown mercy.
There are many people we have hurt or wronged in our lives, some in smaller ways, some in larger. We say rude things to our families or spouses when we’re frustrated or tired. We are impatient in traffic, and with our coworkers. We engage in gossip or cutting jokes and the friend they were about overhears it, crushed. We snap at our children when we’ve told them repeatedly and they still aren’t getting it. Someone makes a mistake and we preach about how we saw this coming, we told them so, we knew they were going to make a mess of everything, as usual.
How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. -Luke 6:42
"Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." -John 8:7
We cut and hack apart the love we should be showing with our words and destroy their self-esteem. Under the right conditions, we can be merciless.
A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself. -Proverbs 11:17
For judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. -James 2:15
But none have we hurt or grieved more than the One who loves us most, the One who all our sins actually ultimately go against. We need the Father’s mercy. We need His mercy most of all, because each one of these sins and mistakes hurt Him first and most deeply. We put the nails in His hands and feet with our sins. Each thorn on His head was something we did wrong. Each lash with the whip deserved by us. We sinned against both God and the person we hurt. And He is the Righteous Judge. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor? -James 4:12
God is the One who has the right to dole out punishment in measure, the one who could demand our flesh, like Shylock. Yet the merciful Father chose to send Jesus to take the punishment for us instead. He gave His flesh in payment for ours.
A father’s son was killed by a drunk teenager. He went to the hospital bed where the driver was, injured, but still alive. Instead of yelling, hitting, or blaming, he walked up to the boy and hugged him. He whispered, “I forgive you.” And the boy fell apart, overwhelmed. At mercy. And the boy began to forgive himself, too. And they both began to heal, and be free, be lighter, be blessed.
Happier, lighter, relieved, joyous, are those who have received mercy. And they are more likely to pass it on to others, to be cautious with their words and actions next time, to have more love and gratitude towards the one who forgave them. And with mercy, they are also more likely to pass on their joy, their lightness, to others. Like an act of kindness can start a chain reaction, or an act of love, so too can an act of mercy. Mercy is a gift twice blessed, it blesses the giver and the receiver. God delights to see our relief, our joy, our love in knowing He showed us mercy. And He delights when we show mercy to others. We all get to participate in blessing, in joy, when we are wisely merciful.
© 2021 Amanda Lorenzo