John 8:7-11 says, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Mercy. Compassion. We always want it, but often do not give it. Jesus gave it. He still gives it today.
“I do not discipline my children because I'm merciful. I do not speak up for what is right because I'm compassionate.” Absolutely wrong. True compassion and mercy does not avoid or condone wrong doing or sin. Although Jesus was merciful to the woman, He still told her to sin no more. Mercy is the heart of God. He is full of pity and tender in mercy (Jam 5:11). He is rich in mercy, and He loves us greatly (Eph 2:4). His throne is a throne of grace that we may confidently come to in the Name of Jesus and obtain mercy (Heb 4:16). He is ever merciful and gives (Psa 37:26).
God has shown us what is good. What does the Lord require of us? To do what is right because it is right, to be lovers of mercy and compassion, and to walk in humility and meekness with our God (Mic 6:6-8). There is promised blessing in being merciful. Matt. 5:7 says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”. In 2Sam 22:26 and Psa. 18:25, it says, “With the merciful, You (God) will show yourself merciful”. There is also the negative side, when you are not merciful. Jam. 2:13 says, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that has shown no mercy”. Give mercy – receive mercy. Show no mercy – receive no mercy. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, because they had made a big deal about small things and had forgotten about the more important matters of God's law – one of which is mercy (Mt 23:23). In all of our obtaining of knowledge, may we not forget to be merciful.
This is so important to God, Jesus talked many times about it. In Matt. 18, the Master was very angry at the servant, because after being forgiven an unpayable debt, he would not have compassion on his fellow servant (Mt 18:33). Let us not be like that servant. Own the fact you are a sinner in need of salvation. Acknowledge that it was your sin that put Jesus on the cross. Examine how much you have been forgiven – then you will be better able to walk in compassion and mercy towards others.
The merciful man does good to his own soul (Prv 11:17). I believe this works in a couple of ways: 1. God is merciful to the merciful – as we have already seen. 2. It makes you feel good to be merciful (Prv 14:21). As a Christian, mercy should emanate from our innermost being (Col 3:12), and be worked outwardly in our life. It will bring forth a true joy, as we know we are imitating God. We should be kind, tenderhearted, and merciful to one another – and not become hard hearted legalist that have lots of head knowledge, but no practical fruit in our life. Let me explain the importance of this.
Take the story of the good Samaritan (Lk 10:30-37). It was the God fearing folks, the people with the Bible under their arm, that avoided the hurt man. It was the Samaritan – the cult member – that showed him the compassion and mercy that he needed. The people with the right doctrine didn't practice what it said. The person with the wrong doctrine did practice it. Now let's ask ourselves this question: If that hurt man wanted to know about God, who is going to talk to? That's right – the cult member. Why? Because he showed him the mercy and compassion that the Bible people should have shown him. God help us – God help me – to show in my actions that I serve the most loving, gracious, compassionate, kind, tenderhearted, merciful Creator of all the universe. May God forgive me for misrepresenting Him on many occasions. I pray we Christians would learn to stop separating our who (who we are in Christ) from our do (what we do to demonstrate it).
Humble yourself, and allow God to change your heart. If you are guilty of having a critical, judgmental, hard heart – repent, and ask God to heal your heart. Practice mercy and compassion in your home, in your church, in your relationships, at your work. As we started with, Jesus didn't condone sin. It must be addressed. However, you can stand for righteousness and stand against evil – and yet be merciful in doing it, just like Jesus.
I pray you have received the truth, and grow in it. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!