The new you… merciful!
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
Jesus once told the story of a rich king who desired to settle accounts with his servants. One servant was brought before the king who owed a tremendous amount of money. When the man could not pay, the king ordered that the servant, his family, and all he owned be sold to repay at least a portion of the debt. Jesus tells us that the servant fell on his knees, imploring the king for patience in repaying the debt. It was then that the king did the unthinkable… he released the servant and forgave the entire debt.
This is mercy.
Mercy is probably best-defined as: NOT receiving the consequence you deserve.
In our day, people default on loans quite often – with very few consequences for their actions.
But in Jesus’ day, those who defaulted on loans from a king were subject to whatever punishment the king thought was necessary. Slavery. Death. Punishments for your whole family. You name it. In that culture, this punishment was seen as deserved – because you made a promise to a king, knowing full well he had the power to destroy you, if you neglected to repay his favor. It was the king’s right to do whatever he wanted to do – and if you crossed him, you would certainly discover (and deserve) his wrath.
But this is why Jesus’ story is so amazing. We have a king. We have a defaulted loan. We have a servant who has merited the king’s wrath. And this king does the unimaginable. He forgives. He changes his mind. He has pity and compassion on the undeserving. He shows mercy!
But it is the whole point of the story that should capture our attention. In context, Jesus is addressing “limits” on forgiveness, and tells us that the purpose of his story, about the king and the unfaithful servant, is to give us a glimpse into what the King of the Kingdom of God is really like.
We have a King in Heaven Who certainly knows that we have failed Him (so many times!). We have mostly squandered our time, our energy, our resources – often so we can spend God’s gifts upon our selves. We have taken the goodness of God for granted, and wasted so much of what He has given us.
But unlike earthly kings, it is NOT His desire to dish out punishment. Even though we surely deserve it. It is His desire to show us the fullness of the measure of His love. It is His desire to show His mercy to us – over and over and over again.
The Heart of a perfect loving God could do no less…
Prayer focus: God, help me to embrace the fullness of Your mercy towards me – and to live my life in gratitude for your gracious favor.