Here are some everyday opportunities to be merciful.
Sinclair Ferguson reflected on the Good Samaritan, “Mercy is getting down on your hands and knees and doing something to restore dignity to someone whose life has been broken by sin.” He noticed, “The Samaritan did not deal with the cause of the man’s needs by chasing the robbers… He did not complain about the failure of society to meet the man’s need… The Samaritan addressed the immediate need set before him and did what he could to bring relief.”
God calls us to have a tender heart to those in Christ who are struggling in their faith. “Have mercy on those who doubt” (Jude 22). Christ does not break the bruised reed (Isa. 42:3). And David captures the mercy of God when he says, “Your gentleness made me great” (Psa. 18:35).
“Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8). Peter is talking about sins, not crimes, and there is an important difference. But there are a multitude of sins a merciful person will be glad to cover over. Spurgeon said, “I recommend you, brothers and sisters, always to have one blind eye and one deaf ear.” A hard heart always makes a big deal of another person’s failure, but a tender heart, a merciful heart, often uses the blind eye and the deaf ear. Spurgeon admits, “My blind eye is the best eye that I have, and my deaf ear is the best ear I have.”
“[God] knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Psa. 103:14). And we must remember this in relation to others. We must not set unreasonable expectations on our spouses, children, or friends. Don’t be surprised by disappointments. Get beyond thinking a person will be a consistent paragon of virtue simply because he or she is a Christian. Ponder the burdens others may carry, and consider the strength of temptations they face.
Who in your life needs mercy in one of these areas?