“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy." Matthew 5:7
A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death.
"But I don't ask for justice," the mother explained. "I plead for mercy."
"But your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied.
"Sir," the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for."
"Well, then," the emperor said, "I will have mercy." And he spared the woman's son.
Like the son in this story, who of us deserves mercy? We are worthy only by God's grace. Despite our sinful nature, Christ, in His infinite love, grants us mercy freely.
As followers of Jesus, he asks that we also extend mercy. Forgiveness to those who've wronged us; food to those who are hungry; pleading justice for those who can't speak for themselves and proclaiming Christ's message of salvation and redemption to those who are lost and seeking.
Merciful and loving God, we give you thanks for your compassion. Although we are sinners, you sent your Son to die for us. We do nothing to earn such mercy, but you provide it because you care for us. Please help us extend the mercy shown to us to others. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen
Story by Luis Palau, Experiencing God's Forgiveness, Multnomah Press, 1984.