• Retief Burger

Mercy me DAY 22

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy

Matthew 5:7

Today marks the beginning of our extended lockdown. And today I felt it. It wasn’t a good day and now looking back, it is ok to have these types of days. Days where we need a little grace, more than normally. So I found myself praying some silent prayers during the day to tap into God’s unlimited storehouse of grace and mercy.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy

This promise in Jesus’ words couldn’t have come at a better time for me. After a long, tough day I can truly say that I experienced his grace and mercy in this day. And I pray that over you as well. Grace and mercy are however two different things. In Afrikaans grace is genade and mercy is barmhartigheid. We need both. Simply put, grace means I get what I don’t deserve (ex. favour). Mercy means I don’t get what I do deserve (ex. when my debt is cancelled).

In this time of international chaos, millions of healthcare workers, law-enforcement officers and other personnel are showing loads of mercy and grace. If you are one of those performing an essential service in this time and caring to keep us safe, healthy or fed, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I salute you. For those of us in lockdown, not on the front lines yet, I want to encourage you to also show mercy wherever you can. We’ve heard the most beautiful stories of neighbours helping each other, serving the elderly and those vulnerable. As we are created in the likeness of God and Him being a merciful God, we can and should in this time show mercy like never before.

Mercy gives someone more than they deserve. It might be in our homes where tempers are flaring and irritation levels are pushing into the red, where we extend mercy in the form of forgiveness. It might be aiding someone who we have no obligation to help. It might be going the extra mile for our house or garden workers.

When I think of mercy I cannot help but think of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. John Piper writes that true mercy, as in this parable, always has four responses.

1. It sees distress

2. It responds internally with a heart of compassion toward a person in distress

3. It responds externally with a practical effort to relieve the distress

4. It acts even when the person in distress is an enemy (in this case Jews and Samaritans were enemies)

I think one of greatest downfalls after this lockdown is that we stay in lockdown in our hearts towards others. And then we become locked-up and not reaching out (in safe ways off course) to those around us. Let’s not get so self-centred that we fall into self-pity, forgetting to look outward to the needs of those around us. The beautiful promise in today’s verse is that if we are merciful, in other words, full of mercy, we will also be shown mercy. The needs are great, let’s have the mercy to meet them wherever possible.

Stay safe and stand strong.

Retief Burger

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