“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
To understand this beatitude we need to know a little bit of the world Jesus lived in. Today mercy is generally considered a virtue. We esteem people who are compassionate and give second chances. But in the first century mercy was a sign of weakness. Merciful people were those were suckers and were easily taken advantage of. Their mercy cost them a great deal. It might be a fair translation to say, “Blessed are those who have been taken advantage of.” The good news for the merciful is that they would be shown mercy. They would be repaid with the same compassion and restoration that they showed to others.
Whether or not you have been merciful, you have been shown mercy. God has not treated us as our sins deserve. God has not allowed us to reap what we have sown. We have all sown death and brokenness. We have reaped eternal life. And this thanks to the one uttering this beatitude. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have received mercy. God let us off the hook by sending His Son to bear the consequences of our sin. When we are merciful to others, we connect with God’s mercy. We gain a deeper understanding of God’s mercy when we show it to others.