Today’s Scripture: Micah 6:8; Isaiah 54:7-8; Luke 6:36
Another meaning of the word “mercy” is to show love and kindness—lovingkindness. It goes beyond forgiveness. It includes gracious behavior toward the person we just forgave. (I’ll give you a minute to swallow this revelation, because I’m trying to digest it myself.)
Naturally, it’s not difficult to show kindness to people who have never offended us. Think about it. Aren’t we kinder and more considerate to people at work or at church—and even people we barely know—than we are to our own family members?
Sometimes it’s tempting to simply put a period after forgiveness. However, loving mercy isn’t limited to one sentence. It’s an entire paragraph—an unending essay of kindness, grace, and love toward others.
If we follow the model of God, we learn that it’s okay to be angry with an offender—but for a minute (see Isaiah 54:7-8). The Lord “abandoned” and “hid his face” from the disobedient and offensive Israelites only for a brief moment. Then the Lord couldn’t help Himself. His “deep compassion and everlasting kindness” took over as He drew the nation of Israel back into the folds of His love.
When we love mercy—as the Lord has required—it will automatically flow from us. We won’t have to work at it because when we love something, we embrace it right into our hearts. When mercy fills our hearts, we will be able to show it effortlessly.
- What would your spiritual life look like if God had stopped at forgiveness and offered nothing more? What difference has His continued lovingkindness made?
- How challenging is it for you to show lovingkindness after you’ve forgiven an offender? How can you embrace the concept of loving mercy so it becomes a natural part of your life?