Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.
Looking at the many different versions of this short scripture, I see that most versions start as, “Blessed are those that show mercy” or “Blessed are the merciful….” Yet this version starts with the word: Happy. Hmmm, now that should make one think. “Happy are those that show mercy….” Perhaps showing mercy is not just about our receiving a blessing, or in blessing another with our version of mercy. This scripture speaks to the intentions within our hearts for the mercy that we’ve offered. It isn’t just about how gracefully we offer the gift of mercy to someone else, instead, the point is to do so with joy in our hearts.
I think of the time I gave my coat away to a kid that needed it. I can still remember the careful weave of those threads that made the pattern within my coat. Later, I thought, “Wow, she didn’t even say, ‘Thank you.’” In remembering my coat, I wasn’t so cheerful, because I was giving with strings attached.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve sometimes been guilty of offering to help another person and not having joy in my heart about it. However, I am also sure that I am not the only one! There’s just too many strings attached. How often do we show mercy begrudgingly? How often do we wonder if the giftee was really worthy of our time — let alone, the gift of our grace once bestowed? We often offer the gift of grace to another but want to qualify it: are they deserving? Are they thankful? Later, we might lament the cost of the mercy that we’ve given.
It is then I think about times God’s shown me mercy when I didn’t deserve it. God’s gift of mercy is freely given, period! No matter the cost, God’s never said, “Hey! You didn’t say, ‘Thank you.’” How many times have we have begrudgingly accepted God’s mercy? How many times have we been careless with God’s grace for others? Today, let’s joyfully offer mercy to another with no strings attached.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
God’s mercy for us is freely, joyfully given. God doesn’t qualify the gift of mercy for us. But how might you have discounted someone who needed mercy from you?
God happily offers all God’s gifts, despite the fact that we can never be fully worthy. The least we can do is happily share them with others without strings attached. God doesn’t require us to say, “Thank you,” but in love, we want to show reverence to God for the grace and mercy we’ve been given. In return, God asks that we show this mercy to one another.
Prayer: Most merciful God, thank you for your loving grace offered for me, unconditionally. Thank you for your mercy, even though I cannot ever fully deserve it. Please help me to happily offer mercy in your Loving Name. Amen.