The Concept of Mercy
I was reading Day 9 of 40 Days Living The Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight this morning and the overlying theme on today’s entry was mercy. It’s hard as a society to grasp the concept of mercy, because it’s not something we typically experience in our world on a daily basis. My first instinct was to go to the dictionary to see what mercy actually means.
Mercy – /mur-see/:
- Compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence.
- The disposition to be compassionate or forbearing.
- The discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
- An act of kindness, compassion, or favor.
- Something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing.
Though all five definitions are appropriate regarding God to some degree, the last definition is what really felt applicable for me when it came to this excerpt from the book. McKnight talks about the fact that it is God who provides mercy and that is only provided when someone needs it. He uses the analogy of God being “on call” when it comes to giving mercy to those who need it. The example made me think of my friend who is a nurse – she is often on call for her job. The only way she provides care when she is on call is if someone actively calls her and says “We need your assistance today.”
Not to sound trite with a “Sunday School response,” but God is available at our calling…we just have to actually take the initiative and call Him! Matthew 7:7-12 encourages us to just ask and God will follow through, but you have to start by asking…don’t just expect it to happen. One of the biggest challenges we as the human race face is to show mercy to those around us, especially when they don’t ask for it or we don’t think they deserve it. God has shown us mercy, so it goes without saying that we should do the same for others.
Photo Credit: By Hades2k