When Mercy is Rejected…Then What?

“Could you please speak more on this subject of mercy? Asked one of my readers.  She was referring to my post on August 13th


The reader further commented and questioned: “You say in the next to last paragraph that you can either retaliate or resolve. Are there any other options like just no contact with the person(s) you feel wronged by?   What if no matter what is said there will be no changes in the relationship?

Excellent question!  What’s the answer?

In the context of the statement I wrote, “God’s mercy should motivate us to be merciful. When you are hurt you can either chose to retaliate or seek resolution. Mercy allows us to forgive. To let go of the past. To show compassion. And seek to restore trust and fellowship.”

In the Mountain Message Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful,  For they shall obtain mercy” (Matt. 5:7),

The meaning of mercy is better understood by the Latin word from which our English word is derived.  It is a compound word from pity and heart.  When we feel mercy, our heart is pained. But mercy is more than just a feeling.  It identifies with the one hurting.  It empathizes with their plight.  With their problem.  With their predicament.

Here are at least three ways in which mercy may issue itself.

(1) In deeds of helpfulness.  James speaks of seeing someone destitute.  Hungry.  Unclothed.  Faith that works helps.  Feeds.  Clothes.  (Jas. 2:14-17).  But the heart that helps is spurred by mercy.

(2) In judging righteous judgment (Jn 7:24).  The merciful is not quick to judge.  To condemn.  To censure.  Mercy is not characterized by “evil surmising, sinful suspicion, or unfounded speculation.

(3) In forgiving those who have wronged us.  Paul exhorted, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Mercy forgives.  Because it is kind.  Compassionate.  Christ like.

This leads us back to the issue raised by our reader.  I assert in the earlier post. “God’s mercy should motivate us to be merciful. When you are hurt you can either chose to retaliate or seek resolution.”

What other options are there?  What if my offer of mercy is rebuffed?  What if  the offender is unresponsive? What if nothing can be said or done to repair the relational breach?

I have two thoughts about this issue.

First, God only expects us to do what we can do. The Bible says “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom 12:17-18).  Note the apostles says “IF it is possible.”

Is it always possible?  No!  Why not?  Because some folks don’t want to live in peace.  Also he puts the responsibility on us.  “As much as depends on you.”  Never let it be said that a relationship is beyond repair because of you.  You can still be merciful whether the other party desires to receive it or not.

Secondly, God is merciful.  His heart of mercy is open to all.  His arms of mercy extend to those who receive, and even to those who reject it.  Some people distance themselves from the God of mercy.  And they may well distance themselves from us, even when we are merciful toward them.

Then what?  When others curse, we bless.  When they do evil, we return good.  When they hate, we love.  When they harden their hearts, we maintain a merciful heart.

Why?  Because we are Christ-followers!  We think nobler thoughts.  We walk the second mile. We live on a higher level.

I hope this helps our questioner.  And the rest of our readers. It sure helped me to think about it.  Thanks for asking!

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Mercy, Uncategorized

3 responses to “When Mercy is Rejected…Then What?

  1. Bill Hood

    One of my earliest memories as a member of the Lord’s body stems from a “men’s business meeting”. I think I had been part of this group for about a week, or maybe two. We are discussing some task that needed to be done, best I recall, and it was suggested that our young preacher take care of it (big surprise!), ostensibly because he had more time during the day.
    At this point one of the older men said, “I wouldn’t trust the preacher (by name) any more than I would a snake!” in a very harsh tone.
    I was dumbfounded to hear this from a “brother” in Christ! I expected the young preacher to respond in defense of himself or verbally retaliate. Instead, he looked at the man with a confused expression and said “Well, Brother (by first name)?”
    I began to learn then that our relationship to our Father is not governed by others, it is governed by our hearts as they reflect Christ in our actions and reactions. That young preacher set an example I have never forgotten. I do not know what was in his heart, but I do know what I observed, then and for several years following. I observed a merciful heart coexisting with what appeared to be a vengeful heart.
    I am convinced that if my heart is spiritually “right”, with my brethren, my heart will be right with our God, no matter the conditon of my brother’s heart. I am also convinced that this task, to love when others do not, is among a Christian’s most difficult challenges. I struggle with this challenge every day!

  2. Lonny Weber

    Mercy is a funny thing – I don’t mean ha ha either, but odd because it seems to do more for the one giving mercy than the one receiving it. I have a dear brother in Christ who is related to me, who has been deeply wounded by the body of Christ. He is so bitter now and can’t see that he should let go of the bitterness of soul as it is so obvious he has no trust in people anymore. I can hardly blame him.

    The group to which he gave his life’s blood in a sense betrayed him. Not his home congregation, but when he moved and went to school, other congregations literally broke up his family because they didn’t get the whole story from both partied invovled. This so often happens in the chuch, it sides with one party without hearing the whole story. The same thing happened to a couple I dearly love who were bad mouthed by a preacher because they wanted to go to a congregation closer to thier home as they traveled very far, but the minister of their home congregation lied about them so the new congregation believed the letter without hearing their side of the story! Now I am married to the husband in this story as his first wife passed on to the Lord. We live in the area of this other congregation now and cannot worship with these people because of a liar who, by the way was caught in a horrendous sin, and had to be sent away from his congregation. He is again preaching. Yet we are stuck with his venom. Where we live, the congregations are few and far between so we really are stuck and worship together.

    I’ve also had a lot of family and “friend” deep pain which I have had to learn and am still learning to put behind me. One thing I have learned in this process of mercy and forgiveness is that it doesn’t matter whether someone asks for it or not. When Jesus was on the cross, He asked the Father to forgive them in Luke 23:34 – why? because He knew it was good for not only His spirit to not hold a grudge, but also show the example of not holding that grudge. No hate can be found in us at all. Although many brethren think they do not have to forgive if the offender has not asked forgiveness, I believe for the sake of the offended’s soul, the offended should forgive the offender, but does not have to tell the offender or make any kind of display about it. Actually, it is better if he doesn’t, unless he has been so badly pained and a real friendship has been damaged. Something tells me, we know when we must confront the other party(ies) invovled or not.

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