Originally scheduled for May 7
It sometimes surprises the Christian to find
that mercy must be given cheerfully. The word used here in the
Scriptures is the same one used when God commands a cheerful giver.
More than that, it is the root of our English word “hilarious”. This
seems extremely strange, until you remember that mercy is an act of
extravagance. It is not a “good bargain.” For it is still true, if
there is to be reconciliation, the one who does the reconciling is
going to pay for it. You might as well recognize it for what it is
and be extravagant at it.
Why does God command us to be cheerful givers
of mercy? One reason is that those who are in need of mercy are
often people who don’t seem very likable or grateful. You have the
whiners and the complainers (“poor me!”) There are also those who
are in need of mercy because of their own foolishness — and they
don’t like their pride stepped on. Often enough, the need of mercy
is caused by an addiction. The temptation is to tell them just to
stop, even though we know this usually doesn’t work. Indeed, when
you have occasion to give mercy, you should rejoice. You could be on
the receiving end, you know.
More than this, being a cheerful giver of mercy
helps prevent the onset of cynicism. This is particularly true if
you have to show mercy over and over again to the same person.
Sometimes it’s hard for us to think like God and be merciful. We
might then keep in mind that the merciful will be shown mercy. God
rewards the giver of mercy with a bounty of mercy.
We may consider the Father’s way of giving us
mercy, at the Cross.
His mercy comes from his compassion,
his love for us. It is given willingly not grudgingly.
His mercy comes to us in kindness. We
did not receive mercy from the pillar of fire but from the Savior
who loves the little children.
His mercy comes to us in humility.
Christ emptied himself of the glories of heaven and came to earth as
a man for the specific purpose of dying on the Cross.
His mercy comes to us in gentleness.
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling.
His mercy comes to us with his
patience. He is not willing that any should be lost, but that all
should be saved.
All of this is displayed for us at the Cross.
In communion, we are to bring these things to our minds. We are to
contemplate the sacrifice he made for us so that we might have
mercy. The cup is His blood; the bread, His body. In this we are to
remember him. Therefore, as you partake, do so in a worthy manner,
recognizing the ultimate mercy of God.