“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7
Chuck Smith describes the difference between justice, mercy, and grace. He says, “Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve.”
I think we need to pause and understand what that actually means. Our world loves to see justice. We want wrongs to be righted and we want to see someone pay. But, when it comes to our own wrongdoings or receiving what we really deserve, we might take a second before demanding the judge to bang his gavel.
Because of our choice to eat from the tree, (don’t say you wouldn’t do it because we all would have) we deserved to die. We deserved absolutely nothing. Adam and Eve were give one direction: don’t eat from the tree of knowledge (Genesis 2:16-17). They had everything at their fingertips they could possibly want, yet human nature took over and they succumbed to the Snake. But, God loved us too much that He didn’t want that to be our ending. He wanted it to be only the beginning. Jesus is the story of mercy and grace. But we first needed the mercy before receiving the grace.
In Greek, mercy has a root Hebrew word that means, “to get inside someone else’s skin.” The Bible tells us the God is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4), and we see that through Jesus Himself. Jesus basically is God with skin on, right? And if God is rich in mercy, then He proved Himself to be by sending His perfect Son to come meet us in the imperfect world so that He can could experience human life as we do. Now, that is mercy.
As we realize the gravity of our sin and see how far we have fallen, we are able to grasp the concept of showing mercy to others because we were shown mercy first.
I can think of a time when I was shown mercy. It was early in the morning and I had just pulled out of my parking spot. As I was driving, I reached for my water in my purse when I heard the worst sound in the whole world: two giant pieces of metal crushing together. I had hit another car. It was a very minor bump, but the damage looked like I rammed into her at 40mph. I absolutely deserved to get yelled and screamed at. I deserved to be questioned and lectured. It was my fault- I wasn’t paying enough attention. But in that moment, the driver of the other vehicle showed so much compassion and mercy. In that moment, I was beyond thankful for her reaction.
Friends, there will be many difficult people and situations in our lives that we will encounter. Maybe you have already faced one this week. Before reacting, think about how much God loves the other person. Think of how much mercy has been shown to you and how many times you have fallen and deserved the worst of the worst. Let your emotions subside and the Spirit to ascend to the surface. After all, showing mercy is contagious.
I’ve linked a passage below in in Ephesians that envelops everything we talked about. It encourages us to exercise our freedom to let it go. (Yes, you do have the freedom to not do something). Meditate on it and walk in the mercy and grace of Jesus.