“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
Would you agree with the following statement “You have to give respect in order to get respect?” Would you give respect to someone who does not give you respect? I believe most of the world functions this way. People treat others how they have been treated. Although this is not all bad, it is not biblical. Jesus gives us the “golden rule” in Matthew 7:12, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus summarizes the Old Testament in a succinct, powerful sentence. Jesus does not say, “Treat others as they have treated you,” but rather “Treat others the way you want others to treat you.” If you miss the difference, you will miss mercy.
Mercy is defined as compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm. When we are mistreated, we have the power to punish or harm them with treated them as they have treated us. But when we treat others as they have treated us, we forget the compassion and forgiveness God has shown towards us when we mistreated him. Merciful people understand that they have received mercy. We do not treat others in the way they have treated us, but we treat others the way God has treated us. When we faced an insurmountable debt, God showed us mercy by withholding punishment we rightly deserved and placing it on Jesus Christ. We will forever be debtors to mercy.
If we are not merciful towards others, then we cannot expect to receive mercy from God. Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” As the merciful will be blessed in receiving mercy, the cruel, unkind, mean, and unforgiving will receive wrath. We treat others the way we want God to treat us and the way God has already treated us in Christ.
When we demand respect before we give respect, we are forgetting the gospel of Jesus Christ. Beloved, God wants you to be merciful to the world as a witness to the mercy He has extended to you. Let us know known as a merciful people for, “Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” 1 Peter 2:10.