Every Day Light
Grace and mercy
"' and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him '" (vv. 33-34)
For reading & meditation:
We continue focusing our thoughts on what it means to be "merciful". One of the best ways to understand the word is to compare it with grace. Have you ever noticed, that the introduction to every one of Paul's epistles from Romans through to 2 Thessalonians, includes the words: "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ"? The phrase usually appears in the second or third verse of these epistles. However, when he comes to what are described as the pastoral epistles (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus), he changes the phrase to read: "Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." When Paul inserted the word "mercy" after the word "grace", he implied an interesting distinction. Someone has defined the two words thus: "Grace is especially associated with men in their sins; mercy is especially associated with men in their misery." While grace looks down upon sin and seeks to save, mercy looks especially upon the miserable consequences of sin and seeks to relieve. This helps us to see mercy in a wider dimension. Mercy is compassion plus action. A Christian who is merciful feels such compassion and concern that he is not content until he does something about the plight of the one with whom he comes in contact. The story of the Good Samaritan is a classic illustration of being merciful. Others saw the man but did nothing to help him in his plight. The Samaritan, however, crossed the road, dressed the man's wounds, took him to an inn and made provision for his comfort. I say again: mercy is compassion plus action.
Merciful and loving heavenly Father, make me in Your own image. One thing is sure - I cannot be a merciful person without Your help. So come and think in me, love in me and live in me. For Your own dear Name's sake. Amen.
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