Showing Mercy

Written on 02/10/2023
Christian Dunn

Verse: Matthew 5:7

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

OK, this one can be hard. In some ways, I think, it may seem like an easy thing, show mercy. At least in the abstract. But there are so many ways that this can come up, both large and small. As a teacher, I come up against it pretty regularly. I must admit, my tendency to show mercy is directly in proportion to how much I feel that mercy is deserved. It's easy to show mercy to a student who is regularly communicative, works hard, and uses their time wisely. It's not so easy when you have a kid who is closed off, doesn't want to engage, who seems to put forth no effort. But who needs it more? What might that mercy teach them or show them? What is the point of showing mercy? It's the undeserved mercy that shows something of God's heart for us.

And that it is that same mercy that shows us the state of our own hearts. Who am I to decide if I should show mercy? To decide if a person is deserving of it? Of course, there are things that I cannot compromise on, but where I am able to show mercy, am I not being told to do so?

I'm not trying to confuse mercy with permissiveness. A child who disobeys a parent may need some kind of consequence to help them learn right from wrong. A student who turns in no work cannot receive an A on their project. But they also need to see and experience grace to be able to breathe in the fresh air of the gospel. Where can I be flexible? Where can I meet a person where they are, see from their perspective, help them to meet the expectation? Where can I bring God's mercy on me to bear in this situation? How can I extend what has been held out to me so freely?