Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy (v. 7).
We often hear stories about “big mercies”: a grief-stricken relative forgives someone for a heinous crime against their loved one; bitter rivals become best friends. Sensational movies often capture such moments: the hero saves the villain from certain death. Huge displays of mercy are powerful and important. They point us to a sense of grace beyond our impulse for retribution and revenge. They highlight the best of humanity and point us to a mercy provided by a higher power.
Some of us have wrestled with the possibility of enacting a “big mercy,” and sought to find God’s grace in devastating circumstances. Yet those of us who don’t have such a moment are still responsible for finding ways to offer mercy daily. We each have opportunities to choose mercy through everyday acts of extending grace and showing forgiveness. When we practice letting go, we become more free from the bitterness and sadness that bind us. When we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, we narrow the chasm of misunderstanding between us. Even when we don’t understand another’s motives, mercy allows what seems strange to remain strange without costing us our peace.
God knows and holds everyone’s battles. God knows the grossest, ugliest parts of each of us, those we don’t dare name aloud. God knows the corners of our minds that we try to avoid. God knows about the times we messed up, chose the easy way out, or hurt those closest to us.
God still gives us another chance. God still shows up and shows us how to love each other. When we show mercy, we’re better able to imagine how God shows mercy to us—deep, dark secrets and all.
What wrong am I holding onto? What would it look like to show mercy to myself or others in this situation?
God, help me to accept your mercy. Soften my heart to the mercy around me and help me share it, even with those who seem impossible to forgive. Amen.