Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. - Luke 6:36 NIV
Mercy. It is one of those words that has faded from our vocabulary. We understand the concept of forgiveness, but mercy is different. Mercy is having it within our power to punish, but instead, we show compassion and kindness. It comes from Latin, which means "price paid."
It is well within God's power to punish, but instead, he extends his grace to us. In his mercy, he sent his Son to atone for our sins. Jesus Christ, the fully human yet sinlessly pure sacrifice to the price for mortal sin. God did this from love, even though from our sin, we deserve punishment.
As the benefactors of God's mercy, we are also to do the same. Those we have power over to treat badly, we are to extend kindness and compassion instead. It is pretty easy to persuade ourselves that we don't have control over anyone. However, when we conduct an honest inventory of what we possess in relation to what others do not, we quickly realize that is not true. Most of us have homes filled with stuff, food in our fridge, and cash in the bank. Depending on our race and gender, we may wield a different power. Anytime imbalance and inequity exist, there is an opportunity to extend mercy to others.
God of eternal mercy, we give you thanks for your compassion and kindness. We give thanks for Jesus Christ, who redeems us. But, we confess, we sometimes fail to show mercy to others. Forgive us; we pray and help us as we strive to do better. Amen.