The Merciful

There are some things people never forget. I have a few of such “things”. There’s this memory I have (much hazed over with age) of my elder sister and I (both of us very young at the time), stranded at a bus stop, one bus fare away from home. A bus fare we somehow didn’t have. I remember my sister summoning all the courage she could lay her hands on, to ask an Akara (fried bean cake) vendor for help with this fare.

I remember how without hesitation this young man dipped his hand into his change bucket (a small, green paint bucket like this) and handed over the fare we needed. I currently can’t remember the face of that benefactor, but his merciful act made a lasting impression on my eleven year old mind. An impression that’s not likely to be effaced. An impression that makes my heart send blessings to him wherever he may be right now.

In our world today, especially on the “streets”, many regard being merciful (or kind) as a character trait for the weak or foolish. I was once berated in public (and by a stranger!) for attempting to help out a stranded fellow, just the same way I (and my sister) had been helped those many years ago.

Many have chosen to shun the path of mercy because they feel that others attempt to cash in on your mercy to escape the consequences of their past actions, or to take the easy way out at another’s expense. In fact, some people have actually gotten themselves into trouble while trying to show mercy.

While these reasons (and other possible reasons) may not be wrong from a logical and legalistic point of view, it doesn’t change the expectation that God has from those that call Him “Father”.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

(Matthew 5:7, NIV)

It is important to understand that this verse isn’t saying God will withhold His mercy from those who refuse to show mercy. The Bible makes it clear that God has made His mercy and love available to every man (Romans 11:32, Matthew 5:45, Titus 2:11).

For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

(Romans 11:32, NKJV)

Matthew 5:7 is in the sense of Galatians 6:7.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

(Galatians 6:7, NKJV)

In the bid to make something out of our lives, we all hope for that one act of mercy that would cause us to be favored and set us ahead of the pack. To increase the chances of this happening, showing mercy to others must be an essential part of our lives.

Yet, God doesn’t expect us to show mercy just so we can get mercy in return. God expects that as His children, we would learn from Him and allow His Spirit work mercy through us to the hurting world around us. Sowing mercy with the sole motive to withdraw mercy at some point (you probably have in mind) is a pathway to frustration as mercy would most times show up when we’re least expecting it.

So keep your motives pure before God. Show mercy because God (your Father) is merciful. The rewards of mercy will come when they will. That’s what a child of God would do.

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