Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy (Matt 5:7 NIV)
As everyone across the globe knows, there is much emotion centered around the USA’s Inauguration today, January 20, 2021. From those who are posting decals saying, “Bye Bye Don,” to those like myself who are concerned about Biden/Harris policies, to those who outright say, “Biden is not my President,” there is no shortage of anxiety, outrage and turmoil in the USA and the world at large.
Whether we like it or not, “The Lord made mercy a foundation for his teaching” (Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible vol 2, 1988, p 1441; see also Matt 9:13; 12:7; 23:23; Luke 6:36; 10:37; James 3:17). The first four Beatitudes (poor in spirit, mourn, meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness) are God centered in that our mindset and attitudes are centered on Him. The next three Beatitudes (5:7-10) are centered on a life lived rightly. Turner states, “God’s approval comes to those who relate to others with mercy, which includes pity plus action” (Matthew, BECNT, 2008, n.p.). As a present participle in Greek, showing mercy is continuous. When we show mercy we “exemplif[y] the conduct God demands of his people” (Osborne, Matthew, ZECNT, 2010, p. 168).
Like the previous Beatitudes, this one begins with a principle and ends with a reward, they will be shown mercy. “When we show mercy to others, we will receive mercy from God” (Osborne, p. 168). Praise God for the mercy that He has given and shown His people who are in Christ.
As such, regardless of what emotions you are experiencing today, regardless of where in God’s Creation you are located, regardless of your political leanings, I beg you in the name of Jesus to show mercy. Show mercy on those (especially other Christians) with whom you disagree. Whether you are elated, concerned about policies or think the election is illegitimate, I humbly ask you to show mercy and in return God will show mercy to you.
Lord God, if there is one thing this world is it is unmerciful. It is unrelenting in its sin, darkness and cruelty. I ask Lord that for those of us who are in Christ teach us what it looks like to show mercy in these rapidly changing times. Lord God, have mercy on Your people when we get it wrong in these rapidly changing times. Lord God, direct our minds, hearts and hands to extend mercy rather than hate and rage. Lord God, may we never forget that the mercy You showed us with our salvation was costly, the death of Your Son. Thank You Jesus that You are still seated on the Throne and that whatever happens is of no surprise to You. Lord God, prepare us and strengthen us today. Thank You for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.