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“God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”—Matthew 5:7 (NLT)
I recently had a conversation with my four-year-old son about sharing. You see, he wasn’t allowing his nine-month-old sister to play with any of his toys. And yet, he was playing a game on my phone. So I took the phone from him and asked, “How did it feel when I took this from you?” He answered, “Bad.” So I explained, “Buddy, if you aren’t willing to share with your sister, why would you expect me or anyone else to share with you? If you want people to share with you, you have to share, too.” He understood and learned the lesson . . . for now.
When I read today’s verse, I’m reminded of the many, many times Jesus taught this same principle. As it pertains to forgiveness, Jesus explained that if we want to be shown mercy by our Father, we must be willing to show mercy to others when they sin against us (Matthew 6:12, 14–15; Mark 11:25–26; Luke 6:36). He also told us to “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31 NIV) and to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31 NIV). And here in the Beatitudes, our Lord says that those who show mercy will be blessed with the mercy of God.
The Greek word for merciful is eleēmones, which describes one who is “full of pity; merciful, compassionate; acting consistently with the revelation of God's covenant.” According to the Strong’s concordance, this explains what it looks like to show mercy as God defines it—“as it accords with His truth (covenant), which expresses God's covenant-loyalty-mercy; to succor the afflicted, to bring help to the wretched; to be compassionate (by word or deed, specially, by divine grace).”
So, let me ask you . . . do you show mercy to people? Do you show mercy to the driver who’s trying to get into your lane at the last minute? Do you show mercy to a waiter when he gets your order wrong? Do you show mercy to the customer service rep when you have some sort of shipping dispute? Do you show mercy to your spouse when he or she makes a mistake? What about your kids? Your employees? If not, let me ask you like I did my son, “Buddy, if you aren’t willing to give mercy, why would you expect someone to give you mercy?”
Is it easy? Usually not. Will we get it right every single time? Nope! But if we’re intentionally trying to show mercy, if we seek to show God’s mercy to others, the Lord will honor that and show us mercy!
DIG: Do a word study on mercy using a Bible application site.
DISCOVER: Can you think of examples of times you’ve been shown mercy? What about times you haven’t? How did you feel in those instances? Consider that this is how others feel when you don’t show them mercy.
DISPLAY: This week, pray and ask the Lord to give you the patience, wisdom, and compassion to show mercy whenever a situation arises. Be intentional about it
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.