Matthew 9: 13
But go and learn what this means: " I desire mercy, not sacrifice." For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
In a world that understands reward for good behavior it makes no sense that mercy would be given to those who ''do not deserve it." For Judaism at the time of Jesus, laws were everything. Rules had been added on top of rules and the essence and spirit of the law given to Moses was often overlooked. Sacrifice was exonerated and lifted up as a model. Yet there could be harsh responses for those who did not fulfill their responsibility or requirements.
There is a strange thing about sacrificing. One can sacrifice and still hold on to unforgiveness, unkindness, injustice, and exploitation of others. It is possible to sacrifice something and still maintain a hard heart.
To give mercy is to love beyond ourselves. Mercy sees beyond the offense to the heart of the other. Mercy goes beyond justice. Mercy works to change the story of the wrong into a force for good.
God is available to those who need Him. The "righteous" may not be able to recognize their own need for God. To see one's sin and wrong is a blessed place when it draws us to call out for God's mercy. Surely, He is desiring and able to meet that cry!