What is "mercy"? What does it mean for us as Christians to be merciful?
"And hath made for one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth..." (Acts 17:26)
We are interconnected as a humanity. We are here with each other on this earth and are closer than ever before thanks to technology. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to find a way to coexist.
God wants us to learn how to love each other throughout all of our differences. The Bible is about a loving relationship. God created something near and dear to His heart in creating this universe and each of us, and He wants the very best for each of us because of the love He has for us.
We all have different life experiences, different cultures, religions and values, but through it all, we are all structured the same. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. We must learn how to let the Holy Spirit be our guide during this human experience and be able to submit to the higher power that is God.
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
While we must do justice, we must also love mercy.
Mercy is a concept that is easier to grasp in a concrete sense, such as in the parable of the unforgiving servant, but the wrongs committed against us by others are not always physical or don't necessarily manifest in a physical way. What does mercy look like when perhaps someone hurts you in another way, or maybe does not even understand that s/he has hurt you?
When an injustice is done to us or to people we care about, our human tendency is to want to take revenge for the wrongs committed. You want them to hurt as badly as you hurt.
However, in order to bring about justice, you can't just think about it personally. It is the will of the Father that none shall perish, but that every person comes to repent.
We have to think about recompense for the victim, but at the same time, you have to love the wrongdoer enough to forgive and have compassion for him/her. This is the challenge that sets Christians apart from the world. By the standards of the world, this isn’t necessarily a principle of equity. There is an intrinsic unfairness in allowing someone to get away with wronging you or someone you care about.
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)
When we get rid of the anger and pain from injustice, when we lighten our hearts of those burdens (because it is in fact a burden to harbor anger and hatred against others) we clear a path for God to enter and do His work.
We can't let the injustice lead us to be unjust.
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
Jesus Christ is the face of the Father's mercy.
"And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." (Luke 3:22)
Jesus came to show the Way. God knew what he set up in the beginning could not be achieved by us in our fallen state. It was necessary for Jesus to come to us on this Earth and live his essence with us in the form of the Holy Spirit. He personified the unconditional love of the Father and demonstrated that love is the prevailing law of God.
Sermon on the Mount: "But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also." (Luke 6:27-29)
"But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." (Luke 6:35)
We were instructed to stop looking at ourselves and to look at Jesus as the model of love. In our human states, we can never love like God loves us if we had a thousand lifetimes to get it right. It is only by and through Jesus that we can even have a prayer of showing love of that magnitude.
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
Jesus could have taken down his accusers. He could have destroyed his persecutors. But out of His love for those who hated Him, He did not do it. He is the example, and we can't help but to ask ourselves, "Who am I compared to Jesus that I think my pain is greater than His and that those who wrong me are undeserving of love?"
In consideration of our free will, how do you choose between mercy and vengeance?
" But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:15)
"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13)
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
There is a world outside of this natural world that we all experience. When we operate according to Scripture and according to God's word, He is obligated to honor His word to us. His word will not return void. Therefore, when we practice His words and Honor Him, doing justice and loving mercy and walk humbly with God, we give God room to operate in our hearts and in the hearts of those who act unjustly against us.