Today Haiti is still pinned under concrete debris, cholera lurks like a waiting undertaker, and despair is more common than shelter. Before I realized it's been a year since Haiti was shaken by an epic earthquake, I planned today would be the day we remember that Jesus wants us to "Be Merciful."
When my friends at World Help contacted me to partner in remembering Haiti, I realized God had planned today for "Be Merciful."As we live in this world, Jesus wants us to know we should, "Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you'" (Luke 10:9). Helping to heal the physical and spiritual needs of the sick and wounded is a way to bring God "near" to the world.
It makes sense, then, that neglecting to extend mercy to the needy is keeping the kingdom of God "away." The story of "the Prideful Priest & the Lazy Levite" is such a good example of neglect .... you may know it as the Story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). When men stoop to care for the wounded, God is brought near.
Jesus knows our tendency is to reach out to our friends, neighbors, and honored guests when we have a chance to bring people in, but He wants us to be governed by mercy. "But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot replay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just" (Luke 14:12-14). Jesus invites us to learn to do the opposite of our flesh; He invites us to Be Merciful.
On a day like today, when we are exposed to fresh images and information in the media, I have a tendency to immerse my heart and mind and prayers in it ... today. But tomorrow won't be the anniversary, and I won't have to "feel bad" anymore. Right? Jesus knows this about us, too, so He gave us a mercy standard, and He went so far as to say it applies to our enemies.
The mercy standard: "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36).
Mercy is compassion and kindness SHOWN to one in need, even an enemy. That's mercy on a whole different level. The Father's mercy is shown to us daily, since His mercies are new every morning, but His greatest mercy was in His gift of His Son. Mercy takes action to meet needs and bring God near.
Today is a day to have mercy re-stirred in our hearts and minds, but it's a great day to take action to meet festering needs and help to bring God near to the millions who still suffer in the rubble. When men stoop to care for the wounded, God is brought near.
You may already know of someone in your own world who needs your merciful action today. If so, I encourage you to "Be Merciful" in their lives. If God is moving you to take merciful action for Haiti today, I encourage you to put a gift in the hands of my friends at World Help. I'm confident they will care for the wounded and bring God near, just as a merciful Samaritan did so long ago. How about you? We could say we wanna be like the Samaritan, but we can be so much more ... we can be like Jesus!
What has God used in your life to help you learn to "Be Merciful?"