Mercy | Luke 2:32-36
Luke 2:32-36 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 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.
Loving those who love you back—You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours—the expectation of a favor returned…that’s the world we live in. And, be honest, it makes sense. We expect a return on investment. I’ll pay for this one; you catch the next one. We get irritated at the person who never pulls his weight. But that thing called “mercy” takes what makes sense and turns it upside down.
You love those who love you? “No big deal,” Jesus says. Even “sinners”—the ungrateful and wicked—do that. Most people are willing to give when they know the rebound is coming their way. But how about loving those who spread rumors and undercut your authority? How about giving to those who have no intention of repaying you? Jesus says, that’s the kind of character that produces great rewards.
This is a tough one, isn’t it? But the appeal for this godly action is based on the character of God himself. He showed mercy to us by sending his Son to die on the cross for our sins. He paid a debt we could never repay. He gave everything knowing we had nothing to give in return. So when we show a no-strings-attached-mercy, in a small but powerful way, we reflect the character of God.
Father, I don’t want to love my enemies. It is totally against my nature. Once again I stand with my sinful nature doing battle with your Word. So, I ask that you align my heart with yours. Help me to reject the fast-food rewards and live for those you will hand out in heaven. In Christ’s Name, Amen.