Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26
By Lois Parker Edstrom
Each one of us, at some time in our life, has made bad choices. We are not perfect; we make mistakes.It may be that we did something that displeased our parents or a teacher. Perhaps we did or said something to hurt a brother, sister, or friend. You know the feeling – it feels awful.
When you have been in that sort of situation, it may be a surprise to have someone say, “I love you, but I don’t like what you did. Let’s see what you can learn from this.” When you are expecting punishment and your parent or teacher helps you understand that what you did was wrong and then teaches you how to make better choices – that’s called mercy. Mercy is receiving kindness when you don’t deserve it.
We find an example of what Jesus thought about mercy in the book of Matthew. Jesus was having dinner with his disciples. Many tax collectors and sinners (people who had done bad things) came and sat with him. A group of people, called Pharisees, asked the disciples of Jesus, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (9:11).
Jesus heard the question and replied, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (9:13). While Jesus lived on earth he showed mercy (kindness) to many people who had done bad things. He understood their weakness and taught them how to make better choices. He continues to offer mercy to each one of us today. We have only to recognize our mistake, ask for forgiveness, and be willing to receive his mercy.
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2007, Richard Niell Donovan