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“Therefore, be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”—Luke 6:36 (NKJV)
What is the definition of mercy? Mercy is having compassion or being kind to an offender or enemy. So who are your enemies?
It starts when you are young. You compete on an athletic team, for parts in a play, or for the best grades. Though it can be challenging at times, you have adults in your life to help you navigate the process. Coaches who encourage you, teachers who tutor you, or parents who invest in you. Then you become an adult and you begin to find life’s challenges take a twist. The enemy you face sometimes plays by a different set of rules. There are no adults to help you navigate because you are the adult now. And the enemy is your coworker competing for the same position, the ex-spouse who cheated on you, or a family member who creates constant conflict. How can you be kind or compassionate to the one hurting you?
Let’s look at a story in the Old Testament. Abraham and Lot followed God to a new land.
But then their families began to fight and experience constant conflict. Abraham saw the strife growing between them and suggested to Lot that they separate by dividing the land in half. Lot looked around and chose the best land for himself. You would think he might have given Abraham the best of the land. I mean, God brought Abraham to that place, and Lot just followed. Abraham was also the elder of the two. Yet when Lot chose, Abraham never questioned or challenged the choice. He simply trusted God and took the land not chosen.
How often do we feel like this—slighted, overlooked, or underpaid? How can we show mercy to those who take advantage of us? The world tells us to fight for our rights. Jesus tells us to show our enemies mercy. It’s not an easy thing to extend mercy when we feel offended.
So how do we find mercy within us when we only feel anger? Think about how the story of Abraham and Lot ended. Lot lost everything in Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham became the father of the nation of Israel. Though it seemed as though Lot got the better land, Abraham made the better choice. Though he may have been slighted for the moment, he was given God’s blessing in the end. And that is more than anything we can fight for here on earth.
Try mercy. It will be your greatest blessing.
DIG: Take some time to think about those you might have been slighted by. Pray for them.
DISCOVER: How could you show mercy to one of them in the coming weeks and months?
DISPLAY: Extend mercy