Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Consider two popular billboards: 1) 'God prefers kind atheists over hateful Christians;' 2) 'I've got nothing against God. It's His fan club I can't stand.' Consider a quote from Gandhi: 'I don't reject Christ. I love Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.'
Hateful or judgmental Christians present a contradiction in terms. Because you can't be full of hate or judgment--and be full of Christ at the same time. 'If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar' (1 John 4:20). Even more, 'Mercy triumphs over judgment' (James 2:13).
Personally speaking, I was deterred from Christ by hateful Christians--until a merciful God revealed Himself directly to me. But aren't we supposed to His ambassadors?
So what is mercy and how do we act it out?
Mercy is an act of love when it's hard to give it--when it's unusual or inconvenient. Like helping a stranger, an enemy or an obvious sinner. Mercy is giving love to someone who doesn't seem to deserve it. Like the adulteress facing her accusers.*
Mercy is a calling card for Christ. Every time you hand it out, you make the best possible impression and truly represent the God of mercy.
What if people don't appreciate your mercy? Most people will. Mercy is a life-saver. But even if they don't, God does. After all, His opinion of us is the only One that counts.
How does mercy relate to unholy people in an unholy world? Don't hate. Don't judge. Because Jesus didn't. Instead, be merciful. Because Jesus was. His only harsh words were directed toward religious hypocrites.
Because God promotes people of mercy. Therein mercy is a success strategy.
To Be Continued...
* An adulteress faces the Light of the world: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%207:53-8:11&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Success Strategies series.