“Treat everyone you meet with dignity.” (1 Peter 2:17, The Message)
The Bible says God expects you to show mercy to everybody. How are you supposed to do that? Here are three simple, practical ways to be God’s agent of mercy in the world.
Forgive people when they mess up. “When people sin, you should forgive and comfort them, so they won’t give up in despair” (2 Corinthians 2:7, CEV). The normal reaction when somebody hurts you is to want to either get even or write them off. But a merciful person forgives the fallen.
Part of the Lord’s Prayer says, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” (Luke 11:4, NLT). When you pray this, you’re saying, “God, I want you to forgive me as much as I forgive everybody who’s hurt me.” Are you ready to pray that prayer?
Be patient with people’s quirks. We all have our idiosyncrasies and irritating habits. That’s right — even you! When you refuse to get upset over other people’s habits, you are showing mercy. Ephesians 4:2: “Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults” (TLB). The first place you need to show mercy is at home.
Show respect to people you disagree with. You don’t have to agree with everyone. But you can disagree with people without being disagreeable. God says, “Treat everyone you meet with dignity” (1 Peter 2:17, The Message). Does that include people you disagree with and don’t like? Yes. Treat everyone with dignity.
Jesus gets really radical about mercy. In Luke 6:35 he says to love your enemies and do good to them. That starts with laying down your need to be right and to win the argument every time. Do you want to win the argument, or do you want to win people to Christ? To win people to Christ, choose mercy.
When’s the last time you did something good for an enemy? When’s the last time you did something good for somebody you totally disagree with politically or spiritually? When’s the last time you showed mercy to someone in your home?
God sees when you choose mercy, and he will honor your obedience. It will often be difficult, but it will always be worth it to be merciful, just as God your Father is merciful.
Father, grant me the wisdom and strength to show mercy to all, as you show mercy to us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.