One of the hardest parts of Jesus’ life for me to grasp is His perfect, endless, tender mercy for all people. In the Gospel of Matthew, this theme of mercy is very prevalent. Two times Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6,
For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,
And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (see Mt 9:13 and 12:7)
Many people seeking Jesus’ healing hand, came shouting, “Have mercy Son of David” (see Mt 9:27; 15:22; 20:30, 31). Such repetition must be significant. Showing mercy is not what my heart naturally leans against. It would rather disengage because to truly show mercy might mean listening intently or even worse bearing another’s burdens. Showing mercy is exhausting, and I simply can’t handle more than 15 minutes of it. Showing mercy reveals how much my heart does not forgive, how disinterested and unmoved I am over the eternal consequences of sin. To show true mercy reveals the need for God’s tender heart to replace my own — maybe more than another other affection. It is in showing compassion, forgiving one another that I must die. Places I avoid, but for Holy Spirit to quicken sanctification, then it is in places of brokenness that I shall dwell. Oh God, please transform me into an Ephesians 4:32 man who is “kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” May this heart not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, but encourage my brothers and sisters daily (Heb 3:13). Teach me O God, Your heavenly mercies; remind me of your tenderness and compassion on such a fool that it would stir in me a longing to proclaim Your great kindness to all people.