Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Blessed Are the Merciful

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy Matthew 5:7

We live in a world where it's so easy to become callused and indifferent.  Prejudice has always been around but now it is more prevalent than ever.  There are also more people screaming “discrimination” over anything and everything these days.  You have to be careful about literally every word that comes out of your mouth, to make sure you are politically correct.  Of course you should work not to offend people, but let’s face it; there are some people in this world that require more tolerance and mercy than others.  Jesus knew there would be times when it would be hard to be merciful.  It is a virtue that escapes all of us at times.  The last thing you want to do when you have been hurt or wronged is to forgive and forget.  Nevertheless, Jesus expects us to have mercy.  In fact, God says in Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Sometimes it's tough. It's so easy to get a hard heart. But Jesus knew the value of mercy. It brings great blessing to all.

There is much to be said for the quality of Christianity that initiates so much social concern and ministry.   Such has been the definition of “mercy" for many. When we consider the Red Cross, Salvation Army, World Hunger and other benevolent and service agencies which began out of Christian organizations we feel that these are the result of "mercy" as defined here.  While these are legitimate conclusions, the real depth of the quality of "mercy” is seen in deeper areas of our relationships.

Word Study - "Merciful" - Concern, compassion; Refraining from harming or punishing persons who are in one's power and deserve punishment.  True mercy requires power to forgive in being the one wronged.  

"Going beyond the demands of fairness"
Mercy must be distinguished from love, pity, or compassion. It is possible only when we have a right to sit in judgment with the power to act.  For example:  We can pity the Neighbor who can't pay bills but only creditors can show "mercy."  Mercy is a demonstration of grace, the action of grace.  The tragedy of present day Christianity is that it is known more for its judgment and criticism than mercy and forgiveness and understanding.

Mercy and Sympathy go hand in hand but they are two different feelings.  Sympathy means “experiencing things together with the other person.”
"It does not mean only to sympathize with a person in the popular sense of the term; it does not mean simply to feel sorry for someone in trouble.  "Mercy", means the ability to get right inside the other person’s skin...”  Barclay

Clearly this is much more than an emotional wave of pity; clearly this demands a quite deliberate effort of mind and of the will.  It denotes a sympathy which is not given as it were, from outside, but which comes from a deliberate identification with the other person, until we see things as he sees them, and feel things as he feels them." 

The merciful bestow unmerited favor as they have received it from God. 

Scripture to Claim:
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:15-16

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