Mercy is Tough

Half the books in the library seem to be about tough people who solve crimes. They’re always good-looking, muscular, and have interesting personalities; but most of the time they don’t care about people. Jesus taught us to do something that’s even tougher to do: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36).

Why is it tough to be merciful? Because it goes against everything we normally want to do. The easy thing is to take revenge, gossip about somebody, or refuse to forgive. It’s much harder to show some mercy to someone you don’t like, or who has done something against you. We want to react in kind. Jesus commands us not to. That’s the tough part.

When we refuse to judge others (be critical and dismiss people), condemn them for their actions, or complain about them, we’re acting in a way that shows the mercy of God. We are living consistently with what we say we believe about Him. There’s nothing more disappointing than an unmerciful Christian.

Something remarkable happens when we show mercy to others. When you don’t judge, “you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon (release) and you will be pardoned.” (Luke 6:37). Do you want people to understand you, overlook your errors, give you some slack? You must give them these things first. Mercy comes back on you.

James said it well: “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13). Mercy is tough, but we’re called to do it.

– Tim Johnson