In today’s gospel of Luke 6:36-38, Jesus admonishes His disciples on the need to be merciful. To be merciful to someone is to be willing to forgive the person and let go. It means treating people with kindness.
There are times when people do wrong to us, and we refuse to let go. At some moments in life, when you remember what some people did to you and how they treated you, you feel like seeking revenge.
Many of us spend sleepless nights, praying that God will send their enemies to their early deaths. The truth is that how God wants us to treat these kinds of people is to pray for them.
Since God refuses to condemn us despite our sinfulness, God also demands that we do the same. In today’s gospel of Luke 6:36-38, we can also find the reasons Jesus wants us to never relent in being merciful. Some of the reasons are:
1. Because of Who You Are: You are not who you think you are. You are God’s child. You are not a child of the devil. As a child of God, you do not belong to the world.
We have to live our lives like the Father, and not like the devil. We have to be like father, like son. (O yiri nna ya).
In the gospel Luke 6:36-38, Jesus says “be merciful just as your heavenly Father is merciful”. Our lives must reflect like that of our Heavenly Father.
Therefore, when we refuse to abide by this, we live in crisis, hurts and revenge. The more we neglect this, the more we invite more problems, discrimination, division and quarrel among ourselves.
2. Because of Your Decision: We have decided to be true disciples of Jesus Christ. The decision to be a Christian is the decision to live like Jesus.
It is the decision to become His true disciple. Therefore today in Luke 6:36-38, Jesus was addressing His disciples who by implication is you and me. If we truly decide to be His disciple and follow His footsteps, then we have to obey that command.
3. It is a Command: To give a command is like giving an authoritative order. Any order issued by an authority demands nothing but obedience. The commandment to be merciful comes from God, the Highest Authority. God demands nothing from us if not obedience to the command. To say no to this command is also disobedience like the case of Adam and Eve.
4. To Avoid Condemnation: In Luke 6:36-38, Jesus says, do not judge or condemn, to avoid condemnations yourselves. When we choose to revenge, hurt, condemn and quarrel, we are invariably telling God that we do not need His mercy. We may invite the wrath of God if we refuse to forgive and let go. (Matthew 18:35).
5. An Avenue For God’s Mercy: The gospel today of Luke 6:36-38 says that the measure you give is also the measure you will receive. What you give is what you receive.
When we show mercy to others, we also invite such into our lives. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus says “if you forgive men their sins, your Heavenly Father will also forgive your trespasses, but if you do not, neither will your Heavenly Father forgive you. To invite the mercy of God into your life, forgive others.
6. Releases you from the Wrath of God: If God can forgive us when we forgive, that means forgiveness can release us from the anger of God. So forgive because of God.
7. Releases us from bondage: Since unforgiveness keeps us in bondage, forgiveness releases us from that. Maybe the only sacrifice we have to do for that favour coming to us is to forgive and let go.
8. Because of Eternity: If God can be so serious about forgiveness, what do we think of souls that died with grudges and revenge buried in their hearts? And If God can forgive us when we forgive, what do we think about souls who die with their hearts pure and free from any grudges?
To be merciful may bring us eternal reward at last. It may be what we have to do, to attract the mercy of God on that day.
So, be merciful and forgive. When we decide not to show forgiveness, we are not doing the other person. By Implication, we are doing ourselves. Forgiveness is more of your benefit. It releases you and not the offender.
May God have mercy on us and give us the grace to forgive one another. Amen.