It may be helpful for you to know that the impetus for this post comes out of discussions I have had on political issues with friends and watching/reading the news. I admit to being a Republican and of my disagreement with a lot (if not most) of what our President has been doing. However, I have been uncomfortable with what I have been hearing coming from the mouths of evangelicals about the political scene today. So, when I read a post by John Fischer this morning based on Luke 6:32-36, I started to write.
Surprise, surprise! Each time I read that God is “kind to the ungrateful and wicked” in Luke 6:36 I am aware how much the church (and I am including myself here!) does not appear to practice this. Actually, Jesus does not tell us that we are to be like God in this respect. However, he does tell us to love our enemies, do good to our enemies and lend to our enemies without expecting to get anything back
in return. Hmmm, maybe this is being kind to the ungrateful and wicked?
What Jesus does tell us here in Luke 6:36 is that we are to “be merciful just as Your Father (in Heaven) is merciful.” The word here oiktirmon is an adjective and is found only in James 5:11 where James is trying to encourage perseverance for those experiencing suffering and says “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” From hileos and eleos (other words for merciful), Jesus tells us that the merciful are blessed because they will be shown mercy (Mtt 5:7), we learn that Jesus is a faithful and merciful high priest (Heb 2:17) and are warned that we will experience a judgment without mercy if we have failed to be merciful ourselves (James 2:12). Read Matthew 18:23-35 for a sobering parable about someone who failed to show mercy and forgiveness after having experienced it themselves.
Most interesting is in Jude in which we are commanded to “Be merciful to those who doubt.” That kind of makes sense since in 1:22, we are told to “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” And regarding the false prophets, Jude writes in verse 23, “snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” Jude is not saying to agree with these people nor even to condone their behavior but he is telling us to be merciful. Why? Because God has been merciful to us!
So, if we are to show mercy to our enemies, what about those on the opposite side of a political issue than us? If you think that does not sound fair or wise, I suggest you read the parable in Matthew 20:1-16. God seems to anticipate that some may not like the idea of his showing mercy to certain people and so he states in Romans 9:15-18, “I will show mercy to those to whom I want to show mercy.” Please take up any issues on this with God!
TO BE CONTINUED!