I heard it in her voice today—a deep sadness over the injustice shown to the people she served. They were refugees in a strange land, and she was watching them attacked from all sides, verbally, socially, economically, and even physically. This one, who was called by God to show mercy, was surrounded by the merciless.
And it broke her heart.
How much more could she take? Even by association, she too was shunned and questioned. “Why would you care about such people? They don’t deserve your help. What have they ever done to deserve anything?”
That’s just it—Mercy is not receiving what we do deserve.
As a Christ-follower, she was not treating them as the world around them did (that’s mercy).
Through her tears, I realized we shared a common thread: We are both studying the Beatitudes. How apt that my writing this day would be on verse seven of this beautiful chapter of blessing in Matthew.
As she poured out her heart, all I could think was “you are one of the blessed ones.” I knew that Jesus was seeing her in her grief for those she loved, and because she had shown such love and mercy, he would allow her to experience his mercy in her darkest hour.
I didn’t know how he would do it. We’re thousands of miles away, and she’s feeling so isolated in this moment in time, but as I recorded a short prayer for her, I asked the Lord to bring another believer to her side to make her aware that she is not alone. My mind went back to my study of Elijah this summer when God reminds him that there were seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Though Elijah felt alone, he was not.
We are not alone as we serve in the hard places where mercy is most needed.
Even in a crowd of thousands, a person can feel alone, but Jesus looked out over that crowd on the mountainside and reminded the merciful that he sees and blesses.
In Luke’s account of this same sermon, the idea of mercy is expanded and worthy of our attention here (emphasis mine):
“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that…But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High. For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”Luke 6:27-37
Showing mercy is not easy, because the world doesn’t understand it, and we seldom even receive recognition from those we serve.
No matter, Jesus sees and will recognize us in due course. Rest in the blessing of that.
Grace and Peace