“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5.7).
“Romantic love is blind to everything except what is lovable and lovely, but Christ’s love sees us with terrible clarity and sees us whole. Christ’s love so wishes our joy that it is ruthless against everything in us that diminishes our joy. The worst sentence Love can pass is that we behold the suffering which Love has endured for our sake, and that is also our acquittal. The justice and mercy of the judge are ultimately one.” Frederick Buechner
When I think of mercy in marriage I think of Robyn – my wife of 37 years. In spite of the many times of hurt and pain I’ve caused her she has been mercy-full in her responses to me; not naïve and resigned but legitimately filled with a readiness for compassion. She has seen past my failures and envisioned with me the man I truly am because of Jesus. She saw my need for a “new name” – Jeshurun, “‘upright one’, a symbolic name for Israel describing her ideal character”. Robyn saw beyond my sin to see my “ideal character” – who I am at my core. She took the action inherent in mercy – “eleon”. As a result of this God-like mercy I gave her a new name – “Elle”. God-like because this is what God does with all of us as we surrender to His healing in our lives. He does not say, “Mark, get it together and then I will mercy you.” Instead out of His deep compassion for us He declares, “You are upright. You are Jeshurun. Now serve me as the redeemed man you are!”
So how in need are we for mercy and compassion within the marriage bond? It is as limitless as our need for mercy between us and God. Each of us brings into marriage our own special brand of brokenness. Jesus is in the process of taking that brokenness and making us whole. To do this in marriage He forms us into instruments of mercy to one another; image bearers of the very nature of God.
Lord, to be an instrument filled with the same mercy, the same “powerful pity” that marks Your heart … this is our prayer. Amen.