The people stood outside and waited. Some fidgeted nervously while others remained grim and silent. They could hear the tinkling of the bells as the high priest moved in the sanctuary. The people of Israel could only imagine what was happening inside. “Would He accept our sacrifice?”, they wondered. The people had never seen or felt it before – the reality of human sin and the holiness of Almighty God. You would think one could not exist in the presence of the other, but it was made possible with the blood of an innocent animal sprinkled on the mercy seat. Finally, after what seemed like hours, the high priest came out from behind the tents and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Mercy had been granted.
Mercy is not sympathy or a helpful deed. Neither is it sentiment, for sentiment alone would never render such an act. And mercy is clearly not justice, because the people of Israel did not die for their sins like they were suppose to.
What then is mercy? Mercy is more than pardon, more than forgiveness and more than a second chance. Mercy is the willingness to bear the pain and punishment of the offender so that he can have a second chance. Mercy is getting what we do not deserve. Mercy is love in action.
That meeting between God and man happened year after year. Sin and Holiness collided in the presence of innocent blood and Mercy was given. But one faithful day, this meeting took on the true meaning of its practice. God Himself, robed in flesh, became the sacrifice – the innocent blood that paid the price for our sins. Jesus’ blood was shed to stay the wrath of God so that mercy could be freely given to all. Jesus did not give mercy like it was something to be handed out. He became mercy. Jesus bore our punishment so that we could be free. He died so we could live.
Can anyone say they don’t need mercy? At some point in our life, we will consider this word and hope it truly exists. We all need mercy. The only way to get it is to give it.
How should I give it? Be merciful like how you will want others to be merciful towards you. Be patient with the unique, forgive those who have failed you, help those who are hurting and do good to your enemies.
What is my reward? Mercy. For me and the thousands of generations after me. Sow some mercy today.