As David continues his song of victory and praise to God, he captures one of God’s essential qualities. He sings, “With the merciful you show yourself merciful.”

President Gerald Ford once said, “As we are a Nation under God, so I am sworn to uphold our laws with the help of God. And I have sought such guidance and searched my own conscience with special diligence to determine the right thing for me to do. …
I do believe, with all my heart and mind and spirit, that I, not as President, but as a humble servant of God, will receive justice without mercy if I fail to show mercy.”

In the beatitudes Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful.” It means what David sang about. When we are merciful to others we will experience God’s mercy. Max Lucado says it this way, “The merciful, says Jesus, are shown mercy. They witness grace. They are blessed because they are testimonies to a greater goodness. Forgiving others allows us to see how God has forgiven us. The dynamic of giving grace is the key to understanding grace, for it is when we forgive others that we begin to feel what God feels.”

C. S. Lewis had a lot to say about mercy and forgiveness. He writes, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”  I think C. S. Lewis made this observation because he understood the true difficulty of forgiveness in life. He also wrote, “Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it.” This is much easier said than done.

Jesus is the only one to have successfully forgiven. But we are called to “forgive others as Christ has forgiven us.”