Showing Mercy (02-11-20)
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said…
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Matthew 5:1-2,7)
Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions, it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me, holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. (Luke 1:46-50)
As I think about mercy, and look back over the last seven months, what comes to mind is the tireless self-sacrifice of all those who have gone beyond the call of duty, sometimes putting their own lives at risk, to care for the sick and to support the vulnerable. This includes all those working in the NHS as well as all the essential workers in our supermarkets, as well as in our schools, where teachers are risking their own health and the health of their families in order to make sure that our children get the best education they can at this present time.
Mercy is at the very heart of God. It was out of mercy for a lost world that he sent his only Son to die on a cross so that we could be forgiven, so that, as St Paul says, we can be made alive in Christ. In mercy God not only forgives us our sins, but he also gives us eternal life.
Jesus’ statement ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy’ is a call to all of us who expect to receive mercy from God, to show mercy to others and, as Jesus demonstrated, mercy can be expressed in two ways, firstly by forgiving those who have hurt us and not holding their sin against them, and secondly by supporting those in need today.
Is there someone who has hurt you, someone you need to forgive? Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Can you choose today to forgive them and trust God that your feelings will change in time?
And what about giving to, or supporting, those in need today? Giving to Food Banks is a good way of doing this, but there are also people who struggle, not for food, but in other ways. In lockdown there are the lonely and housebound, there are those who can’t visit family members, there are people who are overworked and those who are out of work or whose businesses are struggling. A telephone call and a prayer may be just the act of mercy that they need.
Showing mercy is another route to blessing. What act of mercy could you show today?
Merciful God, you have shown great mercy to me for which I am eternally grateful.
Help me each day to show mercy to those I meet who are in need, that you may be glorified, and that your people may be blessed.
Kyrie Eleison, (Lord have mercy)