Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mercy, Me?

“But a Samaritan traveler came upon him and was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him.” Luke 10: 33-34

I’m sure we’ve all heard the whole story about the “Good Samaritan”.  After several “holy” people had walked by an injured man with nary a glance or concern for him, the Samaritan (one looked down upon in society), came along and helped the hurt man and showed him mercy. It would be as if in our society a man was mugged in a city and several well-to-do pedestrians or a police officer saw him and ignored him, and then a homeless man, gang member or teen-ager was to help him.

Did the man deserve this help? Not really. Could he repay this help? Probably not. Was the Samaritan looking for reciprocation? No way! Of course, this is why what he did is called mercy. If we deserved it, then it wouldn’t be merciful. If someone demanded repayment or reciprocation then it wouldn’t be mercy.

And so in this instance, the Samaritan keenly reminds us of how we can be Christ-like in our world today. So how can you and I be Jesus to others in our world? How can we show mercy? First of all, we need to accept the mercy that God has shown us. We need to recognize His grace and love for us. It must animate us and give our lives energy. And then from this place of passion and power, we can begin to look for ways to spread it to others. And then when the Spirit moves in our hearts, we must ACT upon that movement and do the will of our Lord.

This is the message of mercy. The message of sharing Christ with others, especially if they seem not to deserve it. For none of us do. And yet we are given it anyway. And so we share this mercy with others through a gentle touch or kind word. A smile or an affirming nod of the head. By holding the door open or helping someone carry their groceries out to their car. By eating lunch with the “loner” or making friends with the person everyone else stays away from. By continuing to be respectful and loving to those that hurt us or who have been rude to us. By accepting others even when they disagree with us—even if they are wrong and don’t know it or acknowledge it.

There are so many people knocked down and hurting in life. There are so many wounds in need of bandaging. There are so many people that need to be lifted up and helped along the way. There are so many people in need of rest and recuperation. Who will go to them? Who will comfort them? Who will provide for them? Who will show them mercy? Who, if not you and me?

Dear Jesus, help me to see others and their needs and give me the grace to show Your mercy to everyone through deeds and words of compassion and kindness. Amen.

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