Our verse for today comes from Luke 15:23-24, ” ‘Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. “
Jesus continues His teaching with the next beatitude, ” Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. ” What do you think of when you hear of someone showing mercy? Is it two young boys wrestling with their interlocked hands until one gains that unyielding advantage and the other is forced to cry ” mercy ” ? Perhaps the image comes easier when thinking of mercy not being shown. I picture a scene from the movie ” The Ten Commandments ” where the Israelites are being mistreated and abused as Pharaoh tightens the screws on them as punishment for Moses and God interfering in his business. How about the mercy shown to Adam and Eve in the garden? I wonder if Adam winced ever so slightly when Eve took that first bite, still remembering God’s words that the day they ate of that fruit, they would surely die. Could he have partly expected Eve to drop to the ground as a result of their disobedience? Nevertheless, God let them finish their snack before He came and showed His mercy and grace to them.
But what does this all mean to us? How do we relate to the blessings that Jesus is talking about? When certain situations arise, we are in the position of the dad with his prodigal son. We’ve got someone who we might think deserves our worst, and we’ve got to decide how we’re going to handle it. But do we decide? Do we truly take the extra minute to think through the moment, to realize who we are before the Almighty and ponder what He might be doing to us in our dilemma? Why do we so often think like every good thing is happening for us and every bad thing is happening to us? When will we widen our lens and consider that an infinite God doesn’t always operate the way we think He should? We can’t buy mercy, and we certainly can’t earn it. But we can show to others what He showed to us. We can show mercy, and in doing so, we bear witness to the Father of mercies.
As we seek Him today, consider all the times of mercy that have come your way. Look for God on both sides of whatever situation you find yourself, and see how the thanksgiving will flow.