A gracious woman attains honor, and ruthless men attain riches. The merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm.
We will end the week by considering the benefits of mercy in our own lives. Extending mercy is not only something we do because we should; we extend mercy because it is good for our souls. This is the main point of these lines in Proverbs. Some people believe that hard-nosed, intimidating ruthlessness is the only path to success, and at times this attitude does seem to help people get ahead in life. But their success begins and ends with the material success because they never gain respect from others.
On the other hand, a kindhearted, or gracious, woman earns the respect that the bully never enjoys, even though she may seem defenseless to protect her interests. Mercy results in internal satisfaction that is more valuable than anything we could ever earn.
In the same way, a man characterized by mercy (which is the word for the covenant love God has for His people) will find that his mercy brings him the benefits of loyalty and respect in return. But the cruel man will find his cruelty coming back to bite him. Christ extended mercy when it was not extended to Him, and His actions secured our salvation. Jesus also experienced the internal satisfaction of knowing that, in extending mercy, He was doing the will of God.
- What benefits do you receive from showing others mercy?
- How might those benefits motivate you to keep extending mercy to others?
- Contemplate the mercy that God has extended toward you over and over again. Ask the Lord to give you an inward drive to extend mercy toward others.