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

There is a story that takes place during Napoleon’s reign as the emperor of France.  A young man had been captured by the royal forces, and because of his numerous offenses, he was sentenced to execution.  A few days later, before the sentence could be carried out, a woman arrived at Napoleon’s courtyard and asked for a meeting.  Napoleon granted the woman’s request and she came into the room with tears in her eyes.  “Please release my son,” begged the woman, “I can’t bear to see him die.”

Napoleon said “But what your son has done is a capital offense.  He deserves to die.”

The woman wept and moaned out “Please, please have mercy.”

“But justice demands that he be killed.”

The woman looked right into Napoleon’s eyes and said “But I’m not asking for justice, I’m asking for mercy.”

Napoleon thought for a moment, and said “Then mercy you shall have.”  He then granted a release for her son.

Who knows if that story is true or not, but what we do know, is that our King, the Lord God Almighty had mercy on us, giving us not what justice demanded, but instead giving us the mercy of being released from the penalty of our sins.  As reflections of Jesus, we are called to have that kind of mercy for others.

We are called to give others, not what we think they deserve, but what the kindest and most compassionate treatment we can give is.  And when our hearts pour out mercy in that way, then God sees that, and Jesus promises that He will respond in kind.  As we pour out more mercy on others, God pours out more mercy on us.  When we have hearts of mercy, we are measured with a heart of mercy.

What a beautiful promise!

Discussion Questions:

1: Has anyone ever done anything to you that you felt deserved punishment?  Did you try to take justice into your own hands?  How did you feel after dealing with the situation?  How would you deal with it differently now, understanding how God wants you to react?

2: When did you first come to know God’s mercy?  How has the fact that God didn’t give you what you deserved, changed your perspective on God’s mercy?  How can you reflect that mercy to others?

If you haven’t already experience God’s mercy and grace, then pray now that God would have mercy for you, forgiving you through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Accept the payment that Jesus made on your behalf.  Thank God for His great mercy to you, in forgiving you for your sins.  Pray that God would help you to treat others mercifully.  Ask Him to make you an ambassador for His Kingdom in this world.\


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