“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’.” In reading Matthew’s Gospel this week, this command from Jesus stuck in my mind as something to ponder. I go about many days with these verbs reversed, thinking if I sacrifice enough, then God will show mercy. But this is not what Jesus asks.
Mercy can be defined as: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
I feel awkward that Jesus desires for me to show him compassion. How is it that the God of the universe desires that I show him mercy? Is it actually within our power to punish or harm this omnipotent God of all creation? Does God care for each of us so intimately that my rudeness, self-centeredness or arrogance hurts God so much that he desires – but does not force – yet desires mercy from me? Surely this generous love leaves plenty to ponder.