Sometimes, it’s hard to stomach doing good things for evil or even unworthy people. Human nature says that good gets good in return. For Christians, we know that Jesus asks more of us; we pray for those who persecute us, we turn the other cheek and we walk the extra mile. Mercy is an unearned gift and we as the recipients pay the dividends of mercy out to those who don’t deserve it.

Jesus took this a step further than any of us ever could in this interlude in his life:

They came to the other side of the sea, into the region of the Gerasenes. When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him. He lived among the tombs; and no one was able to bind him anymore, not even with a chain, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces; and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and cutting himself with stones. Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; and shouting with a loud voice, he *said, “What business do You have with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” For He had already been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he *said to Him, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged Him earnestly not to send them out of the region. Now there was a large herd of pigs feeding nearby on the mountain. And the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us into the pigs so that we may enter them.” Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the pigs; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.

Mark 5:1-13

Why would the Son of God ask the name of a demon or stop to listen to its request, let alone oblige that request? In this case, this act was a miraculous display for the confirmation of his Divine gifts; he saved a man who was hurting and proclaimed the power of God.

Sometimes we have to help people we may have a personal distaste for in order to do the good things God demands we do equally; call it collateral mercy instead of collateral damage. Our ego can not stand in the way of getting good done or glorifying God. Show mercy to the demon to save the possessed; show kindness to the enemy to save their troubled heart.

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published January 11, 2020