Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Mercy is about warm-heartedness. God the Father and his Son have a warm heart for people, especially for people in need. And who among us is not someone in need?
The Old Testament uses the word rachum for mercy, a word that is closely related to the word rechem. The latter word means womb or uterus. It’s the place where new life originates, where a baby grows. We connect that place with intimacy, with loving union and with the unbreakable bond of love between a mother and her child. Thus, when we speak about the mercy of the LORD, then we are drawing attention to his motherly feelings for his children, for our LORD is a Father with a heart that is full of motherly love.
If we want to see this mercy of the Father, then we need to focus on Jesus. We taste his mercy when we read:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
And in the Song of Zechariah we hear these beautiful words that witness to the mercy of God that can be experienced in his Son:
. . . because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
This is how the warm mercy of the Lord enters our lives through Jesus. And when we follow the path of that mercy, looking for the way of light and peace, we will begin to discover, thanks to the Spirit, that we too can grow in obedience to Jesus’ command that we are to be merciful as God is merciful.
Jesus’ loving heart will touch our hearts and mercy, heavenly mercy will begin to flow. We will begin to experience that Jesus had us in mind too when he said:
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Jesus, you are merciful. I want to praise you because I can see the Father in you, the LORD, who as a Father has so much motherly love for his children. Warm me and everyone else with your mercy so that I myself can follow the path of mercy. Create in me a heart that is moved with compassion.