Circle of Mercy by Scarlett Stough

Our merciful actions towards others are rewarded by mercy towards us from God:

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Matthew 5:7

But God started this circle of mercy by reconciling us to him through his Son Jesus:

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins….We love because he first loved us.
I John 5:7-19

When God gave us his Holy Spirit, he empowered us to a depth of love which was not possible in our natural state apart from God. Only in his love given to us can we extend mercy to others solely out of compassion for their need apart from their worthiness to receive that mercy.

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you….Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that….But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6:27-36

We can extend mercy to those who are in need by giving them food, clothing, or shelter as the faithful servants Jesus commended in Matthew 25 and as the Proverbs 31 virtuous woman did:

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
Proverbs 31:20

But our everyday mercies are also part of being merciful:

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 4:32-5:2

We don't have to look far to find those who need our forgiveness, or who need to forgive us---the people we live with, spouse, children, the people we work with and the people we socialize with.

By being kind to the "ungrateful and wicked" we take on more of God’s character of mercy. Mercy continues in an ever widening circle of God’s mercy to us, our mercy to others creating God’s merciful character in us, and God’s mercy returning to us when he rewards us with even more mercy.

Volume 12 Issue 1 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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