Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Beatitude Series #9: Showing Mercy

We, who have experienced the mercy of God in salvation, should be able to show mercy to others. In fact, it is unthinkable that any Christian who has been the recipient of God’s great mercy would not show mercy toward others. Jesus told a story recorded in Matthew 18:23-35 about a king who showed mercy and forgave one who had a huge debt he could never pay off in his life time. Later this forgiven man, who had been shown great mercy, confronted a man who owed him a small debt. The debtor begged for mercy and patience and promised to pay off the debt as soon as he could. The first man who had been forgiven the huge debt, refused to wait. Instead he had the debtor thrown into prison. When the king learned about this unmerciful man he was furious. He said, “O thou wicked servant. I forgave thee all that debt because thou desiredst me. Should not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? The king then turned him over to the tormentors until he paid all that was due to him. What a solemn warning this is to us as Christians who hold grudges and refuse to forgive and show mercy to others.

What is mercy?

Webster’s dictionary defines it this way. “Mercy implies compassion so great as to enable one to forbear punishment, even when justice demands it.” Though a good definition; it is not quite Biblical and accurate. When it comes to God’s mercy something is lacking in Webster’s definition. God could not just overlook our sins because He loves us. The reason God can show mercy and lovingkindness to us guilty sinners and forbear punishing us for our sins, is because in His righteousness and justice He has already poured out the punishment for our sins on His Son, the Lord Jesus. Isaiah prophesied of it in Isaiah 53:5-6. “But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed.” All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all.”

False Mercy

False mercy overlooks sin in the name of love and grace and fails to carry our punishment. King Saul sinned in showing false mercy to King Agag when God commanded him to kill him. Parents show false mercy when they ignore disobedience in their children and fail to punish them. Judges and juries show false mercy when they give a murderer or rapist a “slap on the wrist” of three of four years in prison when he deserves capital punishment or life imprisonment.

Biblical examples of genuine mercy

Some Biblical examples of genuine mercy include Abraham showing mercy to his undeserving, selfish nephew, Lot. Joseph showed mercy to his undeserving brothers when they came down to Egypt to get relief from the famine in Israel. Moses prayed for healing for his undeserving sister Miriam when she had dishonored him. David spared undeserving Saul when he found him asleep in a cave. In each of these examples mercy was shown to undeserving people. But beyond all these illustrations is the matchless mercy of God when He poured out His mercy on us undeserving sinners.

How can we as Christians show mercy to others?

We can lead the lost to Christ. Jude 21-23 We can minister to the temporal needs of others. I John 3:17 We can treat others who have wronged us and fallen under our power to pay back, with mercy, love and kindness. Of course, mercy must be shown with cheerfulness, (Romans 12:8) or it is not mercy at all.

March 6, 2006 - Posted by | Beatitudes Series

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.