Home > love > Why show mercy to our opponents (part 2)

Why show mercy to our opponents (part 2)

February 4, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

mystic place by marius grozea

God is “kind to the ungrateful and to the evil.  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36 ESV)

This post follows the one I started on Feb 3 2010.

John Fischer in his catch of the day for Feb 2, 2010, wrote about the lack of kindness and civility regarding the political issues of our day.  He says, as a result, “the hope for gentle debate and reaching a more complicated, but equitable consensus is unlikely.”

Most people would have no problem with his comments at this point.  But, then he writes that the church

“has taken sides along with everyone else and lost its authority to speak into the deeper levels of these issues. The gospel, which values every human being and every human being’s right to freedom, justice and equality has lost its middle ground. While the truth should be speaking into both sides, it is being heard only in one.”

man begging by vicedomini

While it is certainly okay and right to have a position on the various issues of our day, as Christians should we not, of all people, be able to reach across the barrier of whatever issue is being discussed, to value and love those who hold another, even opposite, position from our own?  Again, from Fischer,

“We must remember these are real people we are talking about—people who like us, need Jesus. Making an enemy of someone for whom Christ died is not consistent with the message of the gospel.

. . . We can represent the love of Jesus to everyone. And we can listen and learn even from those with whom we might disagree.”

The expression of mercy was important in the ministry of Jesus.  Twice (Mtt 9:13, 12:7) Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6 in which we are told that it is better to show mercy than it is to offer a sacrifice. There at least five passages in which people beg for mercy before Jesus or God in the gospels.  Four of these are found in Matthew (9:27, 15:22; 17:15; 20:30-31).  Luke also gives us the parable in which the tax collector cries out, God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:9-14) Needless to say, all who request mercy in these examples are shown mercy.

God seems to delight in showing mercy to people.  As He does so, He receives much glory. (Romans 11:32-36; 15:9)

Because of God’s mercy, we are to offer our bodies to him as living sacrifices.  We are to recognize that we have a ministry because of God has shown mercy to us (2 Cor 4:1). Our salvation comes because of the mercy (and grace) of God. (Eph 2:8-10, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 1:3) It seems to be valuable for us to continually go back and remember that once we had not received mercy from God. (1 Pet 2:10)

If we say that we will show mercy to others when they beg for mercy, it would be helpful to read 1 Tim 1:13-14; which says that Paul experienced the mercy of God even when ignorant, in unbelief and while acting as a blasphemer, persecutor and violent man.  It might also be worthwhile to consider that God demonstrated his love and mercy to us “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). I don’t know about you but I continue to desperately need the mercy of God every day (Heb 4:14-16). Interestingly enough, God’s wisdom is said to be full of mercy. (James 3:17)

To be honest, I don’t know all the ways that we are to show mercy and love to those who disagree with us, who are on the opposite side of political issues, to our enemies. But, I am pretty sure that we are to show them mercy and that we are to be the ones who initiate expressions of mercy.  Here are some ideas:

  1. Show respect by listening to them (even when they do not listen to us)
  2. Communicate love not hatred (even when they express hatred of us and our position)
  3. Be kind and tender hearted, assuming the best of others (see Eph 4 here)
  4. Avoid name calling (avoid being contentious, seasoning every word we speak with grace)
  5. Agree to disagree

If others can come up with more specific ideas from their context, I would appreciate the sharing of your ideas.

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: