Blessed are the merciful.
BUT… I don’t feel very merciful. I want to engage in some self-righteous holy kick-butt.
And that runs opposite to the call to be merciful.
For they shall obtain mercy…
Wait. Wait. WAIT A MINUTE! But what if they don’t deserve it?
I’m pretty sure Jesus did not say anything about “deserving” mercy. Quite the contrary.
I know, I know. But really? This person is… an idiot. A prejudiced asshat. A judgmental and mean-spirited person.
And by saying this… you are…
Ack. Great. Yeah… you’re right…
This is how my mind runs, anyway, as I deal with a situation that seems so UNFAIR. Even… (dare I say it??) Unbiblical.
My blood pressure goes up. My heart rate increases. I get that lovely feeling in my gut like I’ve tried to digest nails.
And in this moment, you have just witnessed what every preacher, pastoral counselor and chaplain face every time they think about offering good advice or a needed critique. Every time they honestly want to speak truth… but hear “hypocrite!” echoing in the back of their minds.
How can I possibly be this angry and hot under the collar? I am so unworthy of the grace of God! How can I preach justice and love kindness and walk humbly… when I’m so caught up in who I am and what I want?
Perhaps mercy demands acceptance that I carry this with loose hands, with an acceptance that this is not my situation to solve. There is no way to make amends. And there is no way that I can force a resolution, a reconciliation. I must accept that this is a God-sized task.
It is a moment to STOP for other human beings and allow God to work. (Hence, the photo at the top of this post.) Maybe it was googly-eye stuck on the sign, but I realized, as it caught my attention, that far too often I will walk right by (or OVER) a situation that demands… MERCY.
In the Latin confession, there is a prayer that is sung or chanted as congregants prepare for Holy Communion.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
The root of eleison is translated oleos or mercy in the Greek New Testament. And even more striking is the connection to the Hebrew word, hesed. Translated as “love” or “lovingkindness”, hesed represents the convenient, ever-faithful love of God. In fact, it is so much a part or Essence of the BEING of God that it can’t be distinguished from the Presence of God. And even more importantly, hesed is how one demonstrates one’s connection to God, living it out in the world. Giving to those who can’t give back. Not responding in kind with an angry, cruel, or unnecessary rebuttal.
So when I internalize all this… it comes back to my sense of personal injustice and entitlement. For I expect, no, demand my rights. And I am asking for far more than I deserve, not considering the wants or needs of others.
The question is this: Can I release this moment or action to God’s Hands? Can I gently, carefully extricate myself from the burst of self-righteous, frustrated anger?
Blessed are the merciful… for they shall obtain mercy.
That’s something I know I need. And want to give back.
Watch out for human beings. Show Mercy.
Photo Credit: “Blessed are the merciful_0894”, © 2007
James Emery, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio