Blessed are the merciful, because they will be shown mercy. - Matthew 5:7 HCSB

If we cannot find it within ourselves to forgive someone else, then we’d better plan on never sinning again, because if we go to Adonai for mercy and have not shown it to others ourselves…remember the Lord’s Prayer which says, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”[1] Living mercilessly will lead to dying without mercy.[2] On the other hand, exemplifying mercy results in being treated with mercy.

But what exactly is mercy? It is important to understand that mercy is not merely emotion. It doesn’t matter if you shed tears or not. Of course, the merciful sometimes weep.[3] Jesus certainly wept for His friend. He wept over Jerusalem as He saw their ignorance. There is something startling about the idea of God weeping, but Yeshua did far more than weep! He gave His life for those for whom He wept. It is easy for some to shed crocodile tears but emotion without motion is not mercy.

Mercy is not humanitarianism. Paul said that even if we gave everything we had to the poor and were martyred, nothing is gained if it was not properly motivated by love.[4] Mercy goes beyond handing out used clothes to flood victims or food to the needy. It is possible to go to the extremes of asceticism in our humanitarian works and not have love. Acts of mercy that are void of an attitude of mercy are invalid. The mercy of which Christ speaks is far more than mechanistic acts deemed good by the world.

Mercy is a habitual act of will. It is not turned on and off as the chance of circumstance fluctuates. It is a habit of mind, a culture, a lifestyle. It is a way of looking at life, seeing others as the Messiah sees them and feeling about them the way He does.[5]

Mercy is a verb. It is an action. What we believe affects what we are. What we do is fed by what we are. If we truly see others as Yeshua does, we do what Yeshua did for them. Our judgment will be tempered by grace. We will look for the best in others. We will think through the consequences of action and take the course that will lead to true health for both them and us. We will seek to redeem others as we have ourselves been redeemed. We will forgive not only the petty slights but even the outright persecution, knowing that it is based on ignorant fear.

When we are merciful, we will discover peace has welled up inside us as our spirits fell into alignment with how Hashem would have us act. We will receive mercy from others and more importantly we will receive mercy from God.[6]


[1] Matthew 6:10

[2] Matthew 18:27-35

[3] John 11:35

[4] 1 Corinthians 13:3

[5] Philippians 2:5

[6] Matthew 6:14-15