“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Who are we merciful to? Who are we not merciful to? Why does it matter? Obviously it matters because Jesus said so, here and in other places. Our salvation is hinged on being merciful to others. Jesus said in Matthew 6:15 right after giving us The Lord’s Prayer
“… if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
Jesus also asked the question in Matthew 18:33,
“ Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?”
In other words, compassion, forgiveness, leniency, especially to those in distress.
In April of 2016 I was driving cross country to my brother’s home in Wyoming. I was driving through the South Dakota badlands when an older man failed to stop at the end of his son’s driveway and hit my pickup right behind my door causing me to do a “180” and roll my truck over into the ditch. I found myself in an interesting position of hanging upside down in my seatbelt. The man’s son whom he had just dropped off latterly ran 200 yards from his house bypassing his own father to check on me. He urged me to just sit still and wait until first-responders arrived. Having been in a wreck many years ago that should have killed me and being trapped in that vehicle there was no way I was not crawling out of this one if at all possible.
After crawling out of my rolled over truck and looking at it. I looked over at the driver who was standing there with his head hanging down probably waiting for me to start yelling at him. I looked at him and asked him if he was ok? Still refusing to look at me he said he felt bad about it and said he didn’t see me. (Obviously) I reassured him and his son that I other than a couple of cuts and scrapes I was just fine. I told him the important thing was that no one was hurt or worse. 600 miles away from home and 200+ miles from my destination I was now in a precarious situation. I was 45 miles from the nearest town in a county with only a sheriff and one deputy with no vehicle. After calling my wife and telling her and reassuring her I was fine I called my brother and he started heading my way. I wasn’t expecting to see him for four hours or more. I was about to head back to town with the deputy in the wrong direction from my destination when the son of the man that hit my vehicle offered to give me a ride as long as it took until we crossed paths with my brother. Even hauling the furniture that was in the back of my truck and that survived the rollover.
I was more than grateful for his kindness. He could have easily have not offered. Perhaps he felt some sort of obligation to help since it was his dad that hit me. But in a situation where my temper and my mouth could have expressed my anger shock and disappointment in what had happened, I showed compassion and mercy to him, telling him that I was ok, and that I wasn’t upset or angry with him, telling him I was glad he was ok. Telling him I forgave him. My mercy was returned in kind by the mans son.
Imagine a world where mercy was passed as easy as insults? Insulting someone may make you feel better for 30 seconds. Showing mercy makes you feel better forever. We can all stand to show a little more mercy in this world.
Imagine a world where compassion was spread as easily as greed. Where forgiveness was granted as easy as holding a grudge. Where people helped those in need no matter what they have done or not done to you. What does it cost us to not show mercy to others? The answer is Heaven.
Two things are certain. We all die. We all will be judged one day.