“The merciful man does good for his own soul, But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.” – Proverbs 11:17
Scripture reading: Proverbs 11:16-21
Today, I will begin with the statement, “But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.” We tend to think of cruelty in its more extreme forms, such as Jezebel’s massacre of God’s prophets or the persecution of Christians in the world today. But cruelty can take on lesser forms. Some folks are cruel with their speech using it to cut down people who are not in their favour. Others can be cruel simply by ignoring people and keeping them at a distance. Surely the proverb would warn us against all forms of cruelty seeing that they add to our own troubles.
We all need to be more focused on mercy which does us good as well as those to whom it is directed. There is no finer display of mercy than that of the Samaritan who bound up the wounds of an injured alien, brought him to an inn and provided for his care. But there are lesser forms of mercy calling out for our attention. Pure religion calls us to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, to feed those who are hungry, and to give a cup of cold water to the thirsty.
To these Biblical admonitions, we can add any number of kindnesses that are needful today. Shopping for shut-ins, providing transport for medical treatments, helping the unemployed with expenses, and uttering a kind word when it is needed are always in order. There are limitless opportunities for mercy. Let us be keen to observe them and quick to respond.
Suggestions for prayer
Pray that we all be more mindful of needs and be ready to respond with acts of mercy.
Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.