Day Twenty-Seven – Mercy Me!

Posted on: April 11th, 2011 by Kay Swatkowski

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?

“To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.”

Micah 6:8

“Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.”

Luke 6:36

“What we are to others, God will be to us.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

The poor in spirit receive the kingdom of heaven.  Those who mourn receive comfort.  The meek inherit the earth.  But,

The merciful receive in return, exactly what they have given- mercy.

A friend often reminds me that if we are “mercy receivers” we need to be “mercy givers.”

We certainly have received God’s mercy. When we deserved just the opposite, God showered us with forgiveness, grace, kindness, compassion, generosity, abundance.  And, from God’s  Mercy we begin to understand what it is to pour that mercy into the lives of others.

I am not a theologian or Bible scholar, so my interpretation could be askew.  But, it seems to me that forgiveness is an act of the will and that mercy is an addtional  act of generosity towards others who have hurt us or who are in great need.

Mercy is the decision to be slow to accuse and slower to judge.  It is a commitment to empathize with those in need even when they may have caused pain.

It includes the gift of  forgiveness and shows itself in generosity and kindness. It isn’t easy.

Bishop Myriel was an important figure in Les Miserables. The old clergyman was  kind and gentle and looked with  mercy upon the angry parolee, Jean Valjean.

Welcomed into the home, Jean stole silver and candlesticks from the parsonage in the middle of the night and made off with his loot before the Bishop could sit down to enjoy his  breakfast. When approached by the local gendarme, with Jean Valjean in tow, the  Bishop came to Jean’s defense and stuffed the remaining silver into the startled man’s bag.

His only request was that Jean would take what he was given and make a good and honorable life for himself.

This act of mercy began healing in the heart of Jean Valjean. Slowly, he began to care about others around him, saving the life of an old gentleman trapped under a cart, creating a thriving business in a struggling town, caring for a mistreated  young girl as if she were his daughter and resisting the taking of ultimate revenge on an official who had unjustly pursued him for years.

Valjean had been transformed by the mercy Bishop Myriel had deposited in his life.

Wouldn’t we all long for our grandchildren to be merciful people?  Able to be generous with those in need?  Moved with compassion for the hurting? Able to not only forgive but to engage in merciful acts?

As we pray for our grandchildren (and ourselves) let’s pray that

  • Our interactions with our grandchildren will be merciful and reflect the mercy of God.
  • Our grandchildren will understand that they are constantly recipients of God’s mercy
  • Our grandchildren will recognize their daily need for mercy
  • Our grandchildren will be enthralled with God’s tender mercy
  • Our grandchildren will balance justice and mercy in a healthy way
  • Our grandchildren will be easily touched by the physical and emotional needs of others
  • Our grandchildren will be generous in meeting the needs of hurting people around the world
  • Our grandchildren will add acts of mercy to the forgiveness they offer others

Heavenly Father,

We thank you for your abundant mercy that you have poured out on us in so many ways.  Lord, we know we do not deserve your forgiveness, kindness and grace and are so grateful.

Lord, soften our children’s hearts towards others.  Teach them how to empathize with family, friends and the hurting people of the world. May they learn to respond to every situation with mercy and kindness.

Thank you, Lord, for your patience as we slowly learn how to become merciful people.

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