Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

In elementary school we played a game. Two people clasped hands and bent each other’s fingers back until one person screamed, “Mercy!” It was all about enduring the pain the longest. The person who didn’t scream mercy, won the game. Once mercy was shouted out, the hands were unclasp and the game was over. It was all about ending pain.

Mercy is not a verb in the English language; and yet, it is an action given to someone who doesn’t deserve it but gets it anyway. Most of us want mercy from God and other people. We do not necessarily want others to receive mercy when they have wronged us. Strange, isn’t it? We want God to extend His mercy toward us when we mess up; but when someone messes up, and we are affected by it, we’d rather them not receive mercy from God.

To be “merciful” is to give people a second chance; to forgive a wrong done against us or another person; to allow someone into our lives who doesn’t deserve to be there. When we show mercy toward others, we receive mercy from God.

In Matthew 18, Peter asked Jesus “how many times should we forgive someone.” Jesus responded by telling a story of a king who forgave one of his slaves. The slave owed the king a great amount of money. The king graciously forgave the debt. Despite the mercy of the king, the slave in turn had another man thrown into jail because he owed the slave money. When the king heard about this, he was very severe in punishing the slave because he was not willing to show the same to the man who owed him money.

Maybe there is someone you need to extend mercy toward today. When we are merciful toward others, we receive the blessing of God’s mercy.

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