In 1862, Victor Hugo authored the novel Les Miserables, which has now been made famous in theater and motion pictures. I must confess this is one of my favorite musicals on screen and stage. The depth of the story is captivating, challenging, and heartbreaking.
A pivotal moment in the story is when the main character, Jean Valjean, is caught stealing silver candlesticks from a bishop who showed him compassion and care. While he deserved to be sent back to prison, he was shown mercy. This single act by the bishop altered the trajectory of this character’s life. As the story develops, we see him reconciling the depth of this mercy and striving to demonstrate compassion on others, particularly an orphan girl.
Feel free to read or watch the story if you want to learn more, but for the moment I want to draw your attention to the concept of how powerful a single act of mercy can impact one’s life. While you and I don’t live in this novel, we can be impacted by the principle it illustrates.
Out of a single act of mercy, God sent His Son who died a death we deserved and paid for a debt with His blood that we owed. Romans 6:23 teaches us that we truly deserve death and separation from God. In His endless mercy, God has extended a restoring hand in His desire to walk in relationship with humanity. It is eternally critical that you reconcile in your soul if you have embraced the truth of God’s mercy by confessing your sin and putting your trust in Jesus as King.
Beyond that, like the novel mentioned earlier, that single act of mercy should impact our conduct. In pursuit of Christ and out of a desire to reflect His mercy, our outward actions should demonstrate love and mercy to our enemies, our family, and our neighbor.
God is pleased when we show others the love that He has shown to us. Like Jesus said in Matthew 9:9-13, He finds more pleasure in the mercy we show than in the religious actions that we often elevate. I challenge you today to consider the magnitude of His mercy and live better than you deserve in a commitment to demonstrate love and compassion to all you interact with.