The Bible is filled with the stories of "rotten people" doing rotten things:
Sarah laughed at God's promise.
Jacob made a lifestyle out of cheating people-even his own brother.
Samson seemed willing to blab the solemn secret of his strength to any pretty woman who came along.
David stole another man's wife-and then had that man killed!
Jonah tried to run away instead of taking God's word to people he hated.
Peter openly denied his Lord with vows and curses.
John Mark quit the apostle Paul's missionary team and went home, leaving Paul feeling deserted.
And those are just a few of the rotten people whose stories are told in the Bible. Some people did even worse things than those listed above!
Do you know how God responded to those rotten people who did all those rotten things? He could have kicked them out of the Bible, saying, "Just for that, I'm taking your story out and giving Enoch a whole new chapter of his own!" He could have told them to pack their bags and head for jail without passing "Go." He could have totally vaporized them if he wanted to.
But God didn't do any of those things. Instead, he went ahead and gave Sarah the son he had promised her. She named her son Isaac, which means "laughter." He created an entire nation out of Jacob's sons after he renamed him Israel. He forgave David. He restored Peter. He gave John Mark and Jonah a second chance.
God did all those things because he is merciful. As David once wrote in a song, "The Lord is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love" (Psalm 103:8). God is merciful. He showed his mercy to all the rotten people in the Bible. And he shows his mercy to all kinds of rotten people today.
That's why mercy is right. You see, the reason it's right for you (or anyone) to show mercy to others is because God is merciful. His nature and character make mercy right, because whatever is like God is right, and whatever is not like God is wrong.
REFLECT: What does today's Bible reading say about the nature and character of God? Who wrote Psalm 103? How do you think David knew that God is merciful? How do you know God is merciful? How do you know it's right to be merciful? Do you think you could be more merciful toward others? If so, how?
PRAY: "Father God, you are merciful and gracious, slow to get angry and full of unfailing love. You've been merciful toward me in a lot of ways, especially... [Fill in a time when God was merciful to you.] Help me not only to remember that it's right to be merciful but also to be merciful toward others."