When Is Obedience Most Difficult?

Biblical Authority Devotional: All-Encompassing Authority, Part 3

by Steve Ham on May 23, 2011

Steve Ham, AiG–U.S., explains why Christians must learn to show mercy to others.

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy? (Matthew 5:7)

Today’s big question: when is obedience most difficult?

Christians are often seen by the world as hypocrites. The world thinks we don’t practice what we preach, and in one sense, they are right. Christians have been called to perfection, and although we are redeemed, we are still fallible people. We long for the day when we will be with Christ and have no flaws in our character.

Being merciful is a godly trait believers are supposed to display. When we look at the Lord’s instructions in the Sermon on the Mount, we find that He placed an extremely strong emphasis upon mercy. If you want to be shown mercy, then show mercy to others. This is an authoritative statement from the merciful Savior.

How does one show mercy? Well, the best place to start is by looking at how such mercy has been shown to us. Perhaps one of the greatest examples of God’s mercy was displayed in the life of King David. In Psalm 51, David, who had committed adultery and murder, looked for mercy while offering a prayer of repentance to God. He prayed, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51:1).

David recognized that mercy flows from God’s other attributes, such as His lovingkindness and faithfulness. He also realized that he was completely guilty and needed to rely upon God’s actions in this matter. He pled for mercy because he knew God’s history of granting mercy.

Too often when we have been wronged, our first reaction is to look for justice. When a wrong has been done in society that is dangerous to others, justice often prevails, and it is an appropriate protective measure. Yet every wrongdoing is primarily a sin against God. We sin first against God, and thus, we are all sinners in the same boat as David and need to rely on God for mercy. 

God was wronged by our wickedness, and yet He paid the penalty for our multitude of sins through Christ’s death on the Cross. We must be more like Him and display mercy. So the next time a wrong is done to us, perhaps we can think upon our own guilt and the mercy that has been shown to us. It makes sense that mercy will be shown to those who show mercy because they are modeling godly behavior.

Today’s big idea: reduce your hypocrisy by being merciful.

What to pray: thank God for His mercy and ask Him to help you show mercy to others.

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.