“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” – Matthew 5:7 (NRSV)
There have been books written on the hard sayings of Jesus and I don’t know that this particular verse has been included among those statements. If not, it certainly should have been!
Extending mercy is not always comfortable or easy for us to do. We would much prefer waiting to ascertain that the person who offended us is really truly sorry for what he or she did or said. It is easier for us to extend mercy then. It is even more difficult for us to forgive someone when he or she has not asked us to do so.
We know that forgiving the person is the right thing to do. We should be forgiving as our Heavenly Father has forgiven us. Knowing what we should do and actually doing it often poses the greatest challenge for us.
In Mark 11:25-26, we read these word of Jesus, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. [But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.]” Some authorities add verse 26, which is bracketed. I view that verse not as a threat, but as the very valid reason for us to be forgiving, even as difficult as showing mercy may be. God is merciful (Psalm 116:5b) and so we must acknowledge that God is blessed or happy to be that way. In God’s infinite wisdom, God knows that we, too, will be blessed or happy in the long run to be merciful … to extend forgiveness. In addition “to forgiving others” making us feel better, we ourselves will receive forgiveness or mercy from God.
O Lord, we need your mercy and we thank you for teaching us that being forgiving or merciful will bring us into a state of blessedness or happiness. Help us to be forgiving even as you have so graciously forgiven us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.