Off the Hook


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Bible Reading: Zechariah 7:8-10

Where is another God like you, who pardons the sins of the survivors among his people? You cannot stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing mercy. Micah 7:18

IN THE MOVIE Hook, a Steven Spielberg retelling of the Peter Pan story, Peter (played by Robin Williams) and Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) engage in an epic sword fight as the children of Neverland-and the adult Peter’s two children, Jack and Maggie-look on. Finally, after a fierce fight, Peter knocks Hook’s sword from his hands, and the pirate falls to one knee. Peter levels his sword and points it at the neck of the man who killed his friend.

“You killed Rufio, you kidnapped my children, you deserve to die,” Peter says. But Peter’s children approach and his daughter, Maggie, lays a hand on Peter’s arm. “Let’s go home,” she says. “Please. He’s just a mean old man without a mommy.” “Yeah, Dad,” Jack agrees. “Let’s go home.”

Peter lowers his sword. “Take your ship and go,” he tells Hook. He puts away his sword in his belt and turns toward home, holding Jack and Maggie by the hand.

In the end, Hook meets his end anyway-but not at the hands of Peter Pan.

Peter’s action in sparing his enemy is heroic. He would have certainly been less heroic if he had executed Hook, even though Hook had tried to kill him. But why? Why do we feel that way?

Because mercy is right.

Mercy is right because God commands us to be merciful. The Bible says, “The Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

But mercy is not right only because God commands mercy; it is right also because God values mercy. His commands show what kind of attitude and behavior he values.

But mercy is not right only because God values mercy; it is right also because God is merciful. Mercy is a part of who God is. The Bible describes God as “a merciful God” (Deuteronomy 4:31; Nehemiah 9:31). The Bible also says he delights in showing mercy (Micah 7:18). Mercy is right, then, not because we think it’s right or because we feel it’s right or even because everybody says it’s right. Showing mercy is right because it reflects God’s nature and character. And refusing to show mercy is wrong because it’s not like God.

REFLECT: What makes an action or an attitude right? What makes an action or an attitude wrong?

How do you know that God is merciful? How has God shown his mercy to you? to others you know?

PRAY: “God, you are merciful, and I thank you for your mercy. Help me to show mercy to others, especially when_______________.”


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