“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
“So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:12-13).
Imagine you are walking in a dark forest on a path leading to a drop off, which you are completely unaware of until a strong hand pulls you off of the path with a mighty force alongside guiding the way through some thorny trees to a well-lit path. You now see, dimly, but you see nevertheless that there is nothing to fear here, and that force, that presence is still over you and in you guiding you along this hazy brightness. But then in the periphery you see souls walking along aimlessly through the distant, dark woods on their own singular paths into a vast empty gloom where they will end up falling to their deaths unless a strong hand pulls them away as it did you. The mighty force moves you, compelling you to be that strong hand, to reach out into the darkness, perhaps scratching your knees through the thorny brush to pull the dying ones away onto the bright path upon which you now walk.
I think this is what mercy looks like: Sinners helping sinners find their way from the dark woods of death into the light of God.
The fact is that when we are truly satisfied with Jesus we are completely dissatisfied with lostness. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness means that we flee from sin, but it does not mean that we flee from sinners. Mercy is an active pursuit where we are burdened for people who are just like we were before we met Jesus. Mercy does not turn its head away, but earnestly seeks to shine the light of hope for all those who are wandering in the dark. Because Jesus did this for us. He is the light of the world and makes us shine as stars as little lights in the world illuminating the darkness.
Who was that strong hand in your life? Perhaps it was a parent, teacher, coach, friend, pastor, or maybe even a stranger. Who reached out into the darkness and with mercy pulled you into the light of the gospel? Take time today to thank God for that person. Also, consider for whom God is calling you to be that strong hand. Is there a neighbor, friend, family member, co-worker, or someone else who you know that does not know of the mercy of God through Christ? Ask the Lord for courage, wisdom, boldness, and an opportunity to share the gospel with that person.
To the extent that we show mercy to others will be the extent that mercy is given to us. The joy of heaven awaits all believers, and our judgment will be based upon how we let Christ’s light shine on earth. One of the blessings of heaven will be seeing those who we led into the light through mercy. This is one of the ways mercy triumphs over judgment, and proves that we are truly saved ourselves. This is the promise of blessing Jesus offers: mercy. The blessing of mercy is mercy. When we are merciful we are guaranteed that we too have been given mercy, and will receive mercy at the end of the road where we meet God face to face in His eternal light forevermore. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Walk and live in this truth today.