Grace and peace be unto you.
The journey continues.
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
Have you ever been in the position to show mercy to your enemy or offender? What did you do? If you have experienced unfair treatment, then you are familiar with emotions such as shock, embarrassment, and pain. Furthermore, you might have had a desire for revenge. In that moment, nothing would give you greater satisfaction than to see your oppressor publicly humiliated and in excruciating pain. Fortunately, God lives by a higher standard and encouraged us to do the same, Scripture says, “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:13).
The story is told that King Saul hated David and wanted to kill him. Hence, he pursued him for many years but to no avail. It so happened that David had an opportunity to kill Saul. One of his followers also encouraged him to go through with the idea. But he refused, and instead said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ ‘the Lord himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish’ (1 Samuel 26:1-10). David’s decision was driven by his reverential fear of God. He knew that God had appointed Saul as King and would remove him in his time. Hence, he showed respect for God’s sovereignty and was merciful to Saul.
The Bible tells us that God has a plan for everyone including our oppressors. Although we are not privy to the details of his plan, we know that he wants us to show them mercy. When we do, we are helping to accomplish his purpose in their lives. The Bible says that God does not want anyone to perish but everyone to repent (2 Peter 3:9). We do not know how many lives will be saved when we extend mercy, as such, let us do so at every opportunity.
Interestingly, our character is on display when we deal with our offenders. God desires that our character reflects the Image of his Son. Therefore, one of the reasons he allowed us to be offended is for us to learn mercy. When we extend mercy, God sees that we are merciful, likewise our critics. As a result, our Christlike Image will not be in disrepute regarding this attribute.
There is a popular saying, “Talk is cheap.” It is easy to talk about showing mercy but when you have been severely hurt, how do you show mercy to your offender when the opportunity presents? How do you change your perspective from one of revenge to mercy?
David’s perspective is quite realistic and one that we can adapt. Our offenders will die one day. In addition, God will give us justice and reward them for their unkind behavior. For these two reasons, we can show mercy, pray for them, do good to them, and keep on enjoying our lives. Scripture says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). God will give you the strength to change your perspective, forgive and show mercy. Trust him, he is faithful.