Day 8

Blessed Are the Merciful

from the reading plan

Matthew 5:7, James 2:15-20, Matthew 18:21-35

James Boyd was the best Mercy player I ever saw. You’ve played Mercy before, right? Where you stand facing your opponent, reach out and interlock fingers, then when the “go” is spoken you and your opponent twist your hands upside down, trying with all your might to break the other guy’s fingers off at the knuckles? Yeah, essentially a scene from Call of Duty before Xbox came along.

There’s not a lot of strategy in this game. It is pure strength and will. At some point either you or your opponent will swear tendons are ripping apart, and the weaker player will yell, “Mercy.” But the reality of schoolyard games is sometimes the stronger player will not immediately release. In these cases mercy does come, but it comes slow. You essentially have to beg for it. I remember seeing boys on the ground reduced to tears, pleading.

James could beat everyone else in our grade, except me. We’d always tie, if there is such a thing in Mercy. But it was a grade-school fact that when other boys would challenge James (and always lose), he would release as soon as the other boy cried out. I wondered about this, until the day I saw James playing this game with some much older boys, boys almost men. They would best James and when he asked for “Mercy” they’d make him grovel. In a sort of reverse parable, my friend knew the power of mercy because he’d not been shown mercy. My friend James did unto others as he wished others would’ve done to him. James was golden like that.   

In the story that Jesus tells Peter, the servant was shown mercy by the master but then turned around and acted unmercifully toward a peer. He put the screws to his “fellow servant” and finally threw him in jail. When word of this nonsense finally reached the master, well, let’s just say the story didn’t end so happily ever after.

We learn the power of mercy by having it given or withheld. That’s the reality of schoolyards, and life. Jesus promises a blessedness to our lives if we extend mercy swiftly, without question. Such behavior only truly comes from gratitude. It comes from a thankfulness resulting from our ongoing grappling with the depths of our sin and its collateral damage, as the beautiful word “Mercy” is cried out not by us, but by our Master, once and for all, and again and again. Jesus is golden like that.

Written By John Blase

Post Comments (5)

5 thoughts on "Blessed Are the Merciful"

  1. Justin Carey says:

    I am often quick to want to receive mercy, but very slow to give it, because I think the person asking for mercy does not deserve it. Lord, soften my heart, so that I may show the mercy that has been shown to me.

  2. Luke Blackburn says:

    A key component to following Christ is proper perspective. We must understand the measure of grace and mercy that has been extended to us as God’s children. We all fall short. It is impossible to live up to God’s holy standards by our own merit. It is only through the sacrifice of Jesus that we are made blameless in the sight of the Father. When we understand this, our perspective is altered and framed in the scope of immense gratitude. We understand that we have been shown boundless mercy in our imperfect state. We are given a gift that we don’t deserve embodied in His amazing grace. Once we have proper perspective, framed by the measure of His grace, then we are able to show unconditional grace to those around us. We understand that without the grace of the Father, we are guilty and undeserving of any blessings given. This perspective allows us to see through the eyes of the Father and the need for grace in this Fallen world. We have been filled with grace and mercy and our cup should overflow into the lives of those unacquainted with God. This will allow the light of grace to shine into the lives of others.

  3. Matt Rouse says:

    It is extremely easy to hold a grudge against someone who has wronged you. Especially if you are still in the process of being wronged. If we extend the mercy that Jesus extends to us, we can live in peace, differently from how the world lives. After all, it often is it me who is doing the wronging. How can I demand kindness and forgiveness if I don’t give it when I am the one being wronged. Mercy is a testament to who Jesus is! If we as Christians lived this way there would be staggering repercussions on the evangelism efforts of the church.

  4. Kevin says:

    Day 8: my grandma wrote me a list of things she wish she knew when she was younger. One of them included being quick to forgive, and a heart of understanding. We should be quick to show others mercy in situations where God would show them mercy as well. This is way easier said then done, but the lord finds pleasure when we follow his commands. This is one of them.

  5. Vince says:

    Forgive! Do it for them, but also do it for yourself! The older I get, the harder it used to be to forgive people. Understanding that it brings peace to your soul and grants you more mercy is an A++

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