Summary: A call to personal holiness
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy”. (Matt 5:7 NIV)
When you consider forgiving the people who have hurt you, you must always consider how much Jesus has forgiven you! You don’t deserve His love and can never earn it. He forgave you because He is a merciful, gracious God. Because you have already been forgiven of ALL your sins and set free, you must forgive others by becoming so transparent that His mercy and grace will radiate through every aspect of your life. You are never to be a giver of condemnation but always a giver of mercy.
Mercy is distinctly different from forgiveness because God is merciful to us even when you don’t sin, just as you can be merciful to those who have never done anything against you. God’s mercy doesn’t just forgive your failures and faults, but reaches deep into all your weakness and need. His attitude toward you is merciful.
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s special favor that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms--all because we are one with Christ Jesus. And so God can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us through Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:4)
Mercy is also related to grace. Grace is what saves you - mercy is what sustains you. Mercy eliminates the pain, grace cures the disease. Mercy offers relief from punishment; grace offers pardon from the crime. Mercy is a word you will hear used in the legal system. After the conviction has been made, the jury has unanimously declared the persons guilt, and the sentence is about to be handed down, MERCY is begged for.
The Hebrew word for mercy is “Checed” which means to get inside someone’s skin, to look at where they view life and feel what they are experiencing; to move in and act on behalf of the one whose hurting. That is exactly what Jesus did when He chose to leave the comfort and glory of Heaven to become one of us. Mercy has also been defined as compassionate treatment, having the disposition to be kind and forgiving.
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking Him this question: "Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?" Jesus replied with a question, "What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?"
The religious man replied with the correct answer "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ " He then asked Jesus another question to justify his behavior; “And who is my neighbor”
Jesus answered him by telling the familiar story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37. The Samaritan handed out mercy by taking notice of the bruised and beaten man laying beside the road, relating to his need AND doing something to help him.