Extending mercy to the merciless

By Dave Henning / August 14, 2019

“Extending mercy to the merciless may seem nonsensical because it’s self-sacrificial, not self-protective, but that’s precisely what makes it supernatural. . . .  We don’t enter the arena of grace through our own strength, but only by humbling ourselves to the ground.”- Tina Boesch

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.  Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”- Luke 6:35-36 (NIV)

Tina Boesch continues Chapter 8 of Given as she talks about the concept of giving a blessing.  In Western thinking, giving a blessing often equates with the idea of giving approval.

However, in the context of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ call to love our enemies doesn’t mean we approve of immoral behavior or character.  Rather, we pour out blessing without regard to the recipient’s worth.  Therefore, Tina observes, in this context blessing operates in the area of common grace.  In addition, the author states, God’s blessing expresses common grace before it ever reflects saving grace.  Tina adds:

“When Jesus calls us to bless our enemies, he calls us into a ministry that reflects the grace of a God who showers goodness even on those who don’t deserve it.  To bless those who curse is to extend unmerited favor, undeserved mercy, unearned grace. . . .  God blesses indiscriminately, and he asks us to do the same (emphasis author’s).”

In conclusion, Tina reiterates, Christians often withhold blessing from those we perceive as outside of God’s grace.  Because we fear that implies we condone their sinful behavior.  But, Jesus calls us to bless people in all walks of life – anywhere along the social spectrum.  For to do so reflects the common grace as well as the good character of God.

Today’s question: In what ways have you found yourself extending mercy to the merciless?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: Agape – an overflowing love”

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Dave Henning

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