Which one of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim? He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise. “Luke 10:37
The final line of the Good Samaritan Gospel story gives us a simple directive; show mercy. In its simplest meaning mercy is “kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation.” There it is; that’s what we are told to do.
The question then becomes how do we do it? Knowing how thick-headed we can be sometimes God shows us mercy again and again and again. Our task is to take his example and spread it around to others. This parable shows us exactly what mercy looks like.
Shannon and I had a very interesting lesson in “mercy” recently. We flew home to Kansas for a funeral and the trip routed us through Chicago. If anyone has seen the news you probably heard about the radar tower disaster that affected O’Hare airport. Unfortunately, we hadn’t watched the news so we were caught completely by surprise.
The root of the disaster is traced back to one man who in the midst of enormous personal turmoil decided to lock himself in the radar tower that controls one of the busiest airports in the U.S. and inflict great harm upon himself and the tower. The results of his actions involved thousands of cancelled flights and millions of displaced travelers for weeks.
As we sat in Chicago for hours and hours listening and watching the drama unfold over and over I was amazed at the ripple effect that came from one decision. We saw dozens on innocent ticket agents and flight attendants receive the bad end of every negative emotion you can imagine and it all troubled my heart. I’m not gonna lie, I had a mountain sized hissy-fit bubblin up inside me several times myself but each time I thought a little of it was about to leak out, I’d see someone who was really stuck in a pickle and I’d simmer down.
When we finally made it home, I realized how important showing mercy really was. The first thing I thought about after we landed and started to drive home was that man in the radar tower. When did he need mercy and what would that trip through the airport have been like if more people in his life would have shown it to him?
Nowhere does judgment or evaluation play a role in showing mercy. It’s not for us to decide who is worthy or deserving of mercy, he just told us to show it. I very often remind myself that “I don’t know what I don’t know!” I don’t know why people wind up in bad or desperate situations and need mercy. It’s not my business to know, my business according to God is to show mercy and let God deal with the rest.
A Seed To Plant: As you pray this week ask yourself where you need to show mercy and thank God for coming to you with his great mercy each time you’re in a bad or desperate situation.
Blessings on your day!
Copyright 2014, Sheri Wohlfert
About the Author
Sheri is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker and teacher. She uses her great sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Her roots are in Kansas but her home is in Michigan. The mission of her ministry is to encourage others to look at the simple ways we can all find God doing amazing things smack dab in the middle of the laundry, ball games, farm chores and the hundred other things we manage to cram into a day. Sheri also writes at JoyfulWords.org.