The Israelites in the Old Testament believed God was in heaven and decided who would receive mercy. They believed God alone held the power to make the oppressors behave differently. When Jesus came, He gave us the teachings to get off our knees, stand up and in our God-given power to make changes in ourselves and in the world.
Jesus said, Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.
Jesus gave mercy freely to sinners and those sinned against. He forgave Peter for running away in fear and denying their friendship. In his last moments before his death he forgave a murderer and those responsible for his death. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” His last lesson as teacher, friend and Son of God - MERCY.
Forgiveness is a choice. It sounds so simple, yet can also be complicated. How do we forgive and forget a grave injustice or a personal hurt that is so painful? We don’t have to forget to forgive. We see injustices all around us and it is true that there are wrongs that are done to us. Yet, God sees all. By forgiving someone else, we heal ourselves. By being compassionate and forgiving others who have hurt us, we receive the blessing as well.
If we give mercy, we will receive mercy in return; at some time, in some way, from someone. That is how life works. What we give, we get back in return. We never know when or how or who will be the giver. It is a small miracle!
I believe Shakespeare was referring to the Bible when he wrote this beautiful passage:
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath.
It is twice blessed: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
…It is an attribute to God himself.
Mercy, compassion, kindness - all of this is love. When we give these precious gifts to others, we will know we have also received a gift by the feeling we get. We will feel the love and grace of God.
- Donna Dia Colletti-Lowre
Donna has composed a chant for this day’s reflection titled, “Mercy, Compassion and Kindness.”
Georgia Plain Baptist Church
Gilford Community Church and their pastor Michael Graham
Isabel Rivera, Second Vice-President, ABC/VNH