Mercy is defined as ‘compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.’ We’re often keen to embrace justice and right, but justice needs to be tempered with mercy. The tale is often told of the judge whose friend was in court and found guilty, resulting in a fine which he could not afford to pay. The judge did not ignore the law, but stepped in to pay the fine himself, showing mercy to his friend as well as following the demands of justice. This is a small picture of what Christ has done for us on the cross. We deserved God’s punishment and wrath, but Christ stepped in to take our sins on Himself and therefore God’s mercy reached out to us, even though we did not deserve it (see Eph 2:1-5).
One of the things the Bible repeatedly teaches us is that we who have received mercy and forgiveness should therefore be quick to dispense these things. A failure to do so indicates that we have not really understood the mercy and forgiveness of God.
Meditate today on God’s mercy towards you (listen to Matt Redman’s song ‘Mercy’) and from that place of awed gratitude, let mercy flow from you too.