Devotional

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:3-10.

What tips the scales from a situation being motivating and inspiring to being discouraging and deflating? In some ways, it comes down to your role: did you make it worse or did you serve as God’s agent of mercy? Making things worse makes things worse while showing mercy typically brings happiness. Being kind to other people actually blesses you and makes you happier in life. And mercy certainly produces greater joy in those to whom you’ve shown it. The Bible teaches over and over that the more merciful we are, the happier we’re going to be.“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” –Matthew 5:7

The problem with mercy is that the only time you need to give it is when someone has done some sort of wrong to you. And when that happens, retribution, not mercy comes to mind.  You think getting even and seeing justice served would make you happy. Jesus is saying it won’t make you happy. Hurting someone like you were hurt won’t make your hurt go away. It just makes us bitter. And a bitter, happy person is a contradiction in terms. 

Jesus is saying people are going to hurt you intentionally and unintentionally and He asks you to choose mercy. He asks us to show them mercy even when they don’t deserve it. Jesus asks us to show mercy even when it is hard because that’s the pathway to happiness. The happiness you are looking for isn’t found on the other side of revenge. It’s found in being merciful. Too often our lack of mercy, lack of forgiveness is keeping us from happiness.

Jesus makes you a promise that if you will show mercy to others, mercy will be shown to you. And who amongst us does not need lots of mercy. And as C.S. Lewis said, “It is a Christian duty, as you know, for everyone to be as happy as he can.”

Make mercy your “default” position. Try to understand others first through the eyes of mercy. Instead of judging people for their faults and failings, recognize them as people in need of mercy. You will be the happier for it. 

Discussion questions:

  1. How can showing mercy to others bring happiness into your life?
  2. What can we do this week to be merciful to those around us?