Being merciful is one of the key attributes of God. In fact it is that which keeps the world and us in existence instead of being annihilated. The Lord’s mercy is the part of Him that allows us to be alive irrespective of the multitude of sins that we perpetrate. In Deuteronomy 4:31 we are told that the Lord is merciful and will not abandon or destroy us. Therefore mercy is the fruit of divinity. Christ Jesus in Matthew 5:7 calls us to a life of mercy. He said blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy. Therefore He tells us to be merciful in order to attract mercy ourselves. Exhibiting a life of mercy will draw same to us. Be merciful to receive mercy or don’t be merciful and attract the opposite.
But what is the meaning of being merciful? To be merciful is Greek eleemon and means to have a feeling of pity, with a focus of showing compassion to those in serious need. This is the aspect of God’s love that causes Him to help the miserable. We see this aspect of mercy especially in the life of our Lord Jesus as He heals the sick, feed the hungry, raise the dead, teach them etc. These acts grew out of his attitude of compassion and mercy. It is the ability to enter into another’s world with all its misery to feel for that person and to act to alleviate their misery. A perfect description of the act of showing mercy is the story of the Good Samaritan who took in the injured man he did not know and cared for him in Luke 10.
And so why is it important for us to be merciful?
- You reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7). You sow mercy to reap mercy. When we exercise mercy, others will treat us similarly and God Himself, who has already shown us mercy in Christ, will show us even greater mercy.
- Mercy also calls us to exercise forgiveness more often. We must not live aloof and detached from others and their plights.
- We must pity the ignorant and instruct them; the careless and warn them; those who are in a state of sin and snatch them.
- Psalm 41:1 states, “Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble. The LORD will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.” It is blessed to consider the poor.
A true mark of a correct Christian is one who is merciful. It is a fruit that is unmissable about someone who is truly saved. You cannot be a Christian and walk in judgment of others instead of being merciful with them. You cannot be merciful and be stingy towards your neighbour in need. You cannot be merciful and let someone go hungry. Today we have a church that is a peel shadow of its first century state. We are more selfish, inward-looking and cares less of the plight of others. In the early church the welfare of others was the concern of all. They sold their belongings in other to aid one another. The point is that your riches does not consist in what you possess but what you possess in others. How much of your wealth has translated into the lives of others? That’s what matters most in this life and the next. It is not about how much you own in material things but how much that wealth has been transferred into the lives of others.
It also means being more easily forgiving than unforgiving. It is one of the greatest outcome of being merciful. Don’t hold on to offence but let it go. Ephesians 4:26 cautions us to not let the sun go down on our wrath. We must reciprocate the kind gesture of the Father in forgiving us of our sins whiles we were yet in sin (Romans 5:8). He did not hold us at bay but took the initial steps towards us to seek reconciliation. Let us learn to exhibit the tendency of the Father. As we do so God will let go of our own shortcomings.
One of the purest and most refined delights in this world is that of doing good. Acts 20:35 says it is more blessed to give than to receive. In James 1:27 we are told that “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” It is sometimes a pity when you see unbelievers show more love and care to others than the so-called believer. Personally I have experienced more kindness from unbelievers than from believers. This is a pity. It is time Christians became Christians and stop playing Christianity. We think we can be Christians by mouth and not by heart. It is time to change that to exhibit true Christianity by living out what we believe. Be merciful and you will be shown mercy. God bless you.
Prince Eric Opare