People who study sharks tell us that they are most likely to attack when they sense blood in the water. The blood acts as a trigger to their feeding mechanism and they attack, often in a group, creating a deadly feeding frenzy. Blood in the water marks the vulnerability of the target.
Sadly, this is sometimes how people in the church respond to those who are hurting. Instead of being a community where people are loved, cared for, and nurtured, it can become a dangerous environment where predators are looking for the “blood in the water” of someone’s failings or faults. And then the feeding frenzy is on.
Instead of kicking people when they are down, we should be offering the encouragement of Christ by helping to restore the fallen. Of course, we’re not to condone sinful behavior, but our Lord calls us to display mercy. He said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt. 5:7). Mercy has been described as not getting what we deserve, and we all deserve eternal judgment. The same God who shows us mercy in Christ calls us to show mercy to one another.
So when we see “blood in the water,” let’s seek to show mercy. The day may come when we will want someone to show mercy to us!
We can stop showing mercy to others when Christ stops showing mercy to us.