Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Pet. 2:10)

THE TEMPLE BUILT during King Solomon’s reign represented to the Israelite people God’s presence and held great importance in Jewish tradition. There are many beautiful churches built today and they continue to represent God’s presence in the community. But even if a church building holds all the grandeur of Solomon’s temple, Christ’s church is not built with stone and mortar, but with His disciples and their actions in the world.

More beautiful than stained-glass windows, steeples, and bell towers are times we as disciples show God’s mercy to each other. We might be tempted, or even find it easier, to hold grudges or desire revenge. But God calls us to a higher standard, one of forgiveness and mercy, even if the situation seems impossible. Mercy, given to us through Christ Jesus, enables us to reflect that same mercy to others—in our homes, in our churches, and in our communities. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).

Forgiveness and mercy do not always seem natural to us. That is what makes mercy a powerful witness for Christ. Chosen by and precious to Him, we are called not only to accept Christ’s mercy, but also to live lives inspired by God to show mercy to others. The church is not a building but a people called to be merciful.

Prayerfully consider a situation in which you might extend mercy.

Cheryl A. Paden has been married for over thirty-seven years to Richard, and they have three wonderful sons and live in Fremont, Nebraska.