Love Mercy

  • 21 January 2021

I have adopted Micah 6:8 as one of my life verses:

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

I pray often that God will help me to walk humbly in His sight, but I wonder, What does it mean to love mercy?

As a teenager, I thought of this verse in conjunction with my sister Mercy. I knew it was not really referring to a person, but there were days that I had a hard time loving her. She is 8 1/2 years younger than I am, and she thrived on annoying me. Then again, it didn’t help that I was easily annoyed. Fortunately, I let her live to see adulthood, and we have become good friends. We are still different in a lot of ways, but we are definitely sisters. We are both grateful for God’s mercy toward us, and we strive to extend that same mercy towards each other (which is not nearly as difficult as it used to be).

Probably the most quoted passage on “mercy” is Matthew 5:7:

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

Luke 6:36 tells us to:

Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

So what is “mercy”? defines it as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.”

The first examples that come to mind are parent and child relationships. In my case it was a sibling. Or it might be a boss with an employee. If you are working for someone and you make a mistake, I’m sure you would like him to be gracious to you instead of firing you on the spot. But mercy can be extended to everyone you know. Even if you are not in authority over a person, you may find yourself tempted to slander him or her or to get even with someone who has hurt you. Instead of acting on those impulses, it would be better to take a deep breath and remind yourself that, just as you are in need of mercy, so is the person who has wronged or inconvenienced you.

I like how Micah 6:8 tells us to love mercy. This goes beyond just appreciating it when people show mercy to me. Joy should well up inside me when I see mercy extended to others as well. I should love granting mercy to those in need of it. I realize this is not easy, especially in a highly charged political climate these days. But if you love the Lord, this should be your posture. Life is not all about you. It is about how you can honor God by showing mercy and forgiveness to others. When you feel pride rising up and wanting to take offense or hold a grudge, remind yourself that sometimes you are the one in need of mercy and strive to treat others as you desire to be treated. Let’s let this world truly see Christ!


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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