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Mercy Is a Lifestyle

Mercy Is a Lifestyle

Most of the world has now seen the image of the young man from the opposing little league team silently approach the pitcher who had just accidently thrown a pitch into his head.

The entire incident leaves us mesmerized as we scroll through our social media streams and re-watch the loving scene repeatedly. I cannot help but wonder why this is so mesmerizing. Why is it a rare occurrence in our world? The gesture seems so simple, so kind, so real.

Our day to day lives would look very different if we practiced the same, simple act of mercy with each other. It is the missing ingredient in our world today. Mercy is so simply practiced. We watched mercy offered in what was nearly a completely silent act. We are only left to imagine a few kind, whispered words from the downed batter. Yet, the moment revealed to us an experience that will permanently change the two lives.

Jesus taught this rare behavior in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Scripture tells the story in Luke 10:25-37. A man on a journey was severely attacked, stripped of his clothes and left for dead beside the road. In the story several honorable people in the community passed by and left the man for dead since he was not on “their team”. Finally, inches before the man’s last breath, he was passed by a man who felt compassion for him. This man soothed his wounds, transported him to an inn, paid for his care, and told his caretakers to contact him no matter what the cost in the future. The act was loving and showed mercy on someone from the “other team.”

However, mercy was not the complete point of the parable. In reality the story was a strong warning for those of us who claim to be disciples of Jesus. Earlier in the story Jesus was asked which commandment was the most important. His reply mentioned three things: First, love God with all of your heart, mind, and soul. Second, love your neighbor the way you love yourself. Third, Jesus exclaimed, “Do this and live”! Meaning, don’t do this and you will not have eternal life.

Jesus then asked the next obvious and important question that each of us should be asking ourselves today. “Which man acted like a neighbor?” Jesus' story pointed to the man who showed great mercy as the neighbor.

Those of us who say we are disciples of Jesus should lead the way in showing mercy. After all, Jesus did say, “Do this, and you will live”! Mercy is in no way easy but it is not an option either. Mercy is not an event but a lifestyle and can only be accomplished as we give our heart, mind, and soul…everything over to loving the one who created us.

Can you imagine the self talk that was going through the young little league player’s mind just before he listened to his conscience, walked over to the pitcher’s mound in humility, love and mercy, then stood silently embracing his enemy, his neighbor? Can you imagine how that moment of mercy will alter his life?

Eric Bowman

 

Eric Bowman ovalEric is our associate pastor, working with outreach and youth ministry as well as adult discipleship and growth. Eric retired from a 28-year career in public education as a high school band director in 2019 and is now living his lifelong dream as a pastor.  Eric and his wife, Diana, continue to live in Henry County where they have been lifetime residents. They "raised" three children and are now making their best attempt at "raising" themselves. 


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