February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”—Matthew 5:7–8 (NIV)
Mercy is a spiritual gift, but it often gets ridiculed for making us who have it seem weak. I’ve taken many spiritual gifts tests to find mercy at the top of the list. I’ve also taken it multiple times in hopes I’d get a different result. But it makes sense because I do feel deeply, not just for myself but for others, too.
A pastor once told me I’m too emotional. After going through a really tough season in my life, that same pastor later apologized to me and admitted that it actually takes strength to offer mercy to those who hurt us deeply and encouraged me to never lose this gift.
Today’s verse feels like an oxymoron. It comes easier for me to forgive someone who apologizes. But when someone offends me and doesn’t apologize? I embrace all the anger and sadness that comes with the betrayal. I’m not blessed or happy! Instead, it torments me and consumes me to the point I lose sleep or fall into a deep depression and struggle with anxiety. I relive every moment of the interaction in the hopes something will change about it.
Then I think, Maybe I’m wrong? Let me apologize even though I don’t believe it’s my fault because I just want things to go back to normal. But after apologizng, nothing changes. It’s like watching a movie you know the ending to, such as Titanic, but watching it repeatedly in the hopes it ends differently. Yes, alas, the ship still sinks and Rose lets go of Jack even though she promised she wouldn’t.
That’s mercy. It’s knowing the tragic end of a situation, but hoping and crying many tears for a different outcome. It’s when someone hurts you, but you still don’t want them to hurt.
In a more recent experience, and with some help from a licensed therapist, I was able to learn how to forgive without an apology and process my emotions in a healthy manner. Writing prayers and devotions helped. Walking my dog in the mornings when it was still dark and quiet, praying for my “enemy,” and asking God for mercy really transformed me.
It took months of training my mind to have an attitude of prayer whenever I would obsess over any transgressions against me. It was like my heart and soul were going to the gym for strength training, and sometimes it was painful and I ended the day sore and tired, but slowly I was able to see things from a different angle.
Mercy is not a weakness. In fact, showing mercy to others, especially when they don’t really deserve it, only makes us stronger and glorifies God. We’re not erasing what happened, but we’re surrendering it into the Father’s hands. I finally understood that emotions aren’t bad, they’re simply indicators and we must learn how to process them.
As believers, we know how everyone’s tragedies in life ends: with Jesus coming back for His bride. Jesus offers redemption and shows us mercy regularly. When we fully accept this, we’re then given the gift of mercy. When our hearts remain pure and we hope for the salvation and redemption of all, this is when we get to see God in all of His glory.
Pause: What do you need to surrender into the Father’s hands today?
Practice: Write a prayer or go for a walk and pray for the last person who offended you.
Pray: Jesus, thank You for forgiving me, for dying for my salvation, and for redeeming me with Your resurrection. Help me live a life worthy of You. Guard my heart and my soul from impure thoughts. Remind me that mercy is not a weakness because You have mercy for us and You’re the strongest being I know. I want to follow Your lead and forgive. This pain I feel inside of me, I release it in Your hands today. I need You, Lord. This life is hard without Your presence and guidance. Thank You for loving me unconditionally and forgiving all my trespasses. I forgive as You have forgiven me. Amen.
Alessandra (Ally) Velsor has been part of the Calvary Chapel staff since 2009. Because her family owned various restaurants growing up, she determined to do something else and got a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communication. But… never say never…
She served in The Grill at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale for 14 years as a server, restaurant manager, and catering manager. She’s currently serving as the cafe supervisor in the Plantation campus. She met her husband, Kenny, working at The Grill and married him in 2011. They have two amazing children Joshua and Sunny.