“You cannot conceive, nor can I, of the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.” ~ Graham Greene
“Mercy” has been a popular children’s game through the years. In it, children lock hands and then try to bend each other’s hand until it is so painful that someone cries “Mercy!” The one who shouts for mercy, of course, is the loser and the one who inflicts the most pain in order to make an opponent scream out is the winner. This is NOT the kind of mercy about which Jesus spoke.
God does not lock us into some kind of embrace and inflict as much pain as possible until we cry out for His mercy. Got does not go about inflicting pain upon His people. God loves us. He loves us too much to want to see us in pain let alone inflict it.
We are the ones who often inflict pain upon others. We are the ones who, in many ways, like to see others uncomfortable or in pain.
This is the way some people judge themselves to be successful: that they can control others’ lives and even inflict pain if necessary to make someone know that they are the ones in charge.
We cannot continue to live that way. God desires that we show mercy to one another — the same mercy that He so willingly shows us each moment of our lives.
There are too many examples of the lack of mercy in our world. Mercy is not a sign of weakness. Mercy is not a sign of desperation. Mercy is a wonderful attribute to possess as well as to express.
Since it is so foreign to us, though, we talk about the “appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.” There have been many times I have heard people say, after listening to a story in the scriptures that speaks about God’s mercy, “I’d never do that.”
That is sad; but, true. Most people would not, do not, exercise mercy. They would rather exact revenge. This is nothing new. The people in the Lord’s time felt the same way. That is why the disciples were astonished when Jesus told them that, if they wanted to receive mercy, they would have to be people who would give mercy. The measure they measured with — for good or for ill — would eventually be measured back to them.
If we hope for mercy, we’d best become merciful.
FAITH ACTION: Ask the Lord for His mercy today. Be willing to show mercy to others this day as well.