Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Rome reigned primarily because of its military prowess. That was clear to people throughout Judea. They could see the Roman legions and know their reputation. Theirs was an empire built by ruthless conquest, by violence and war. Rome had many rivals, and it was both feared and hated.

From their own history, the Jews could see how Rome simply was the most recent nation to exercise this kind of control. They could recall how the Assyrians dominated the region through terror for almost 300 years. They also had seen how Persia, Babylon, and others had enforced their will through military power.

Nations then and now have believed that ruthlessness was the path to dominance. Indeed, this approach often does result in short-term gains. Yet history shows that nations that rule by ruthlessness should not expect to receive mercy in return. In fact, they often became victims of the same kind of ruthlessness they employed.

How should the people of Judea have reacted to the presence of Rome? Many expected them to answer Roman ruthlessness with a comparable and even more intense commitment to violence.

But Jesus taught a completely different principle: He stressed the importance of mercy. If we want to be blessed by God, we are to “show mercy to others.” We are to realize that God shows mercy to those who are merciful.

The Greek word translated “merciful” here, used for the only time in the Gospels, suggests compassion and concern. Even though nations that practice ruthlessness may appear to dominate, they often forget that God is the righteous Judge and ultimate Ruler. They ignore the fact that we always Reap what we Sow (Galatians 6:7). That means we need to forgive others if we want to receive God’s forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15).

Do you want God’s mercy? Then seek to be merciful and compassionate. This even means loving your enemies (Luke 6:35). If you want to be blessed by God, this must be your attitude and lifestyle.