There are at least two reasons we find it hard to show mercy. One is that our first instinct is to strike back. Imagine getting a poisonous snake bite. Striking back at the snake or chasing after it is foolish. You will only get upset, raise your heart rate, and spread the poison further. Not to mention that you could be bitten again! What you should do in that situation is to let the snake go, seek first aid, get the poison out, and slow the poison’s spread by controlling your emotions, and slowing your breathing and heart rate. Striking back at those who hurt us in life is like poisoning ourselves. Instead, we should control our emotions and let the pain go, by showing mercy.
Another reason we find it hard to show mercy is that we don’t think that people deserve mercy. But that is extraordinarily foolish! When you think “he doesn’t deserve mercy” you have just identified someone who is eligible for mercy. That’s what makes it mercy – it is undeserved. No one, including us, deserves mercy. Mercy is giving someone another chance when he or she does not deserve it, just like Jesus did for us and for the woman in the Bible Lesson today.
Jesus showed mercy to the woman caught in adultery despite what she deserved. The law she had broken was His. The heart she had broken was His. He knew far more intimately than her accusers what she had done. He, more than anyone else present, would be justified in striking back at her and giving her the punishment she earned. But he showed her mercy. Jesus treats us with undeserved mercy and if we are following His example we must resist the urge to strike back, and remember that we can only show mercy to people who don’t deserve it.
“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.” Zechariah 7:9 (NLT)
“There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” James 2:13 (NLT)
“God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 (NLT)
READ: Jesus Forgives an Adulterous Woman – John 8:1-11.
This is the teacher devotional from the Elevate series Altitude Kids. To learn how you can teach these beatitudes lessons to the kids in your ministry, check out ElevateKidsNow.com.