Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.
Often I have heard frustrated parents tell a child, “say you’re sorry.” To which a sullen child says, “Sorry.” Obviously nothing good has taken place. The parent is still frustrated and the child is only a little angrier and not a bit less glad that he hit his sister, or whatever it was that he did.
This is how much of religion is practiced. I see this in myself. In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul says:
If I give all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned but have not charity, it profits me nothing.
Outward acts of mercy are of no eternal value unless they come from my heart, from a heart of mercy.
David recognized this and at the end of Psalms 19 he says;
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight oh Lord my rock and my redeemer.
People can learn to behave properly. Children learn to not use profanity around their parents or other authorities, but it is still in their hearts. Outward acts of mercy are of value to the one who receives them but do little good for me if they do not come from my heart. Therefore, Paul wrote in Romans 12:2;
Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind in order to prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
When I give up all judging in my heart and mind, then mercy can rule in my heart and God will be free to show me tremendous mercy.
Blessed Father in Heaven, your name is Mercy. It is what you are. You made me in your image to be conformed to your image. There is much that I find within that is not like you. Thank you, thank you that if I come to you in need you will hear me. I need grace to become like you in mercy that I might receive mercy. In Jesus name and for your glory always, Amen.