When someone is called “righteous”, is it because they are in the position to judge, but show mercy?
As a whole, Christians believe that we are eternally saved by grace. Even in failure, we are saved by grace. And yet, what makes grace so monumental? If mercy is deciding to not condemn based on debt, then grace forgives us. As debtors, mercy would be to simply not kill us. Think about Saul vs. David right before David was going to ascend the throne, and how David decided not to kill him, even though Saul had been trying to kill him for some time by the time he needed mercy.
With the life of Christ, we again see this kind of mercy. Matthew 5:7 says “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Christ himself was a sacrifice. His life was allocated solely as a gift, and ultimately, human sacrifice for the sin of the world. I was explaining it at my church’s Kid’s ministry this morning, and focusing on how Jesus never deserved any of it when I realized yet again how thoroughly that poor man was rejected. The world heaped its entire sin upon someone who was absolutely blameless. His death is an act of mercy to me.
Not only does Christ not condemn us, he flips the script completely backwards. “Turn the other cheek” doesn’t remain a pop culture expression for no reason. After he was specifically sacrificed, Jesus himself interceded for the people he came to save.
And yet, without his mercy, there could be no forgiveness. There could be no kindness, or true and eternal resting place for any of us. The one who was most slighted of all people turned it around and showed grace to the hopeless. This is the essence of why we as Christians are called to forgive; in order that we might demonstrate Christ’s mercy and then kindness unto others. We are called righteous because his physical sacrifice was the reparation cornerstone that allowed God to bless the rest of us. We would all be forgotten except for him.
So often, we frame good works as the grace that is required to multiply kindness unto other humans, but honestly, if we leave out Christ’s blood and sacrifice than we forget that next to him, what we are called to do is almost symbolic. I say that not to imply what we do is not important, but to merely mention that the scale of us forgiving people is extremely different than what Christ did for us. If God’s love is infinite, than the amount of forgiveness we receive by way of Christ’s sacrifice is also infinite. It takes a little amount for us to forgive, but for Christ, it took his life. The difference really matters because it keeps you from pulling rank.