Friday, October 20, 2017

Blessed are the merciful

When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying…Matthew 5:1-2
The eight sermons from the Beatitudes display the development of Christian character as each beatitude leads to the next.  The logical flow of these teachings should display the journey we make to become disciples of Christ in the way we live our lives. Yesterday’s Beatitude was Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Today we look at:
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.  Matthew 5:7
The definition of Merciful is – the outward manifestation of pity; to show kindness.  Mercy is showing love to the people that you are justified in giving the verdict “guilty” to.  Mercy is possible only when we have a right to sit in judgment with the power to act. True mercy requires power to forgive in being the one wronged.  Mercy should be distinguished from sympathy, pity, or compassion. Mercy is an outward expression and compassion is an inward feeling.
Because I know how very much I don’t deserve God’s mercy and how much mercy He shows me, I have a hard time not having mercy for others.  I know what it is to make mistakes.  I know what it is to be sorrowful and regretful for those mistakes.  And I know what it feels like to have God’s mercy poured out on me, mercy I don’t deserve.  He gives it undeservedly and freely.  It is this heart of Christ that changes the way we see others.  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  
How can we show mercy to others?
  • Don’t close your eyes to the hurting.  Look at others through God’s eyes.  Pray for the vision to see others the way God sees them.  Pray for the things that break His heart to break yours also.  It is so easy to just turn away and say, “This is not my problem.”  But God calls us to pay attention and help when we can. 
  • Don't close your mind to the hurting.  If we are to be merciful, forgiving people, we must climb into their situation and learn to feel as they feel. Sympathy means to “suffer with” or to feel the suffering of another as our own. 
  • Don't close your heart to the hurting.  Being willing to hurt with others and for others is a gift of grace.  Surrendering your heart to the pain of others is a Christlike response.  This also has to do with a willingness to show mercy - …forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32b.  It is dealing with wrong in a godly manner.  Forgiveness is a mercy power bestowed on another by one who has the right to hold one in judgment. 
Mercy comes from mercy. Our mercy to each other comes from God's unmerited mercy to us, and it is a continuous cycle.  We give mercy, we get mercy.  The reward of mercy will not always come from those on whom mercy is shown.  Some are grateful. Some are suspicious because they cannot understand.  And still others may actually judge you for showing mercy.  The true reward comes inside, knowing that you have shown mercy to someone and treated someone the way you would want to be treated, and knowing that mercy will be shown to you in return, not by man necessarily, but by God. 

Scripture to Claim:
So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.  For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:12-13

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