In the Beatitudes, in Matthew 5:7 we read the beautiful words of Jesus that read,
“Blessed are the Merciful for they shall receive Mercy.”
That is quite a statement and causes me to ask a question “how does one receive Mercy? And from who are we receiving Mercy?
In this day and time, we don’t see many people exercising mercy or being merciful. We see lawlessness and selfishness abounding. This seems to be the age where people only consider themselves and what they can get from a situation. It’s every person for themselves and never mind you.
What is Mercy?
Merriam Webster defines it as compassion or kindly forbearance shown to an offender.
Other words used to explain Mercy are lenience, clemency, pity, and charity.
The word translated in Matthew 5:7 means compassion, kindness, or mercy. It can be divine or human mercy.
Jesus is exhorting his followers to show compassion and mercy and that they would receive mercy.
Jesus set the bar for us in how to live and treat our fellow man. Jesus is God and Jesus showed a lot of mercy. There were moments when he did not demonstrate compassion, such as the cleansing of the temple. These moments are reserved for special times when the offender has usually crossed the line. We see this a lot in the Old Testament.
Consider the story of Jonah where Jonah seemed to be more concerned about the gourd that he had not planted that was providing shade for him. God told him the people of Nineveh did not know the difference between the right or left hand. In other words, they didn’t know right from wrong. They hadn’t been taught.
I have encountered plenty of people where that was the case, or they lived such a lifestyle of poverty that they were trapped and knew no other way. No one had really taught them or helped them.
There are those people that seem beyond help. They just never get it.
But what do we do? Jesus’ example and teaching instructs us to live a lifestyle of demonstrating mercy, compassion, and charity. It is difficult in the age we live. There seems to be so much evil in society, and we live in a dark world where people are taking advantage of us at every turn.
We don’t want to be taken advantage of, and we know that there are people who literally stand with signs begging for food as a job. Instead of getting a job, they choose to ‘hustle passersby for hard-earned money. But how do we separate them from those who are in real need?
While it is a dilemma, we should remember that if we demonstrate mercy, we will receive mercy. My point is that we should be compassionate as often as we can. Don’t let people take advantage of our kindness, but don’t quit being kind.
I realized a few years ago that God has been very merciful to my family and me. I shouldn’t be here writing this at 5 a.m. I could have been one of those people holding a sign or standing in the line at the soup kitchen. We never know what we have until we are faced with the possibility of being out on the streets.
But, I realized how much Mercy God had shown me, and once, I told a dear friend, and he replied that I must have been merciful. I stopped and pondered. I thought and asked myself whether or not I had been a merciful man?
I quickly understood that I had shown a lot of mercy to a lot of od people. There were people that I felt did not deserve one ounce of compassion from me. I had been offended, but I chose not to be offended and turn the other cheek and show some compassion.
I have done some horrible things in my life, but it seems that I always had the heart to show mercy.
I worked for many years in a job where I dealt with all kinds of people. Everyone from sweet old ladies, house moms, the rough and down and out, and professionals like doctors and lawyers were my clients. I met and helped all kinds. I provided a service for people that helped their quality of life. But, so many were unappreciative and uncaring. If I made a mistake, they weren’t kind or compassionate. They weren’t unforgiving.
It wasn’t easy, but I usually shook it off, and the next time around, I smiled and demonstrated mercy. It seems like showing a little mercy is hard now. But I still manage to do it.
Have you shown kindness lately? What about the person that always jumps ahead of you at Walmart, or when you have sat at the doctor’s office for an hour, and someone comes in and is immediately taken back?
We never know the whole story. We want to think, well, I’m being overlooked, and our emotions get stirred up, and we go to the desk to create a stir only to learn that that patient was an emergency case that they worked in.
We just don’t know what is going on, and next time the shoe might be on the other foot.
In the Old Testament, we learn from Moses and the prophets that God was ‘merciful and compassionate, and slow to anger.”
Slow to anger is closely associated then with being Merciful. It is an attribute. Jesus, the Son of God, was not telling us to do the impossible. He is Merciful, and if He is going to live in us, as His followers, we had better adopt a lifestyle of showing mercy.
Have you have read and sung that God’s Mercy is fresh each day? Yeah, we want and need that. But are we merciful? Is our mercy new each day. It’s a crazy world that more than ever demands that we adopt a lifestyle of being compassionate.
The reward is not just for the ages to come.
God is very, very merciful to me. I don’t think I come close to being as compassionate to others as He has been to me. Nor will you!
After all, the one that came and told us to be merciful demonstrated the ultimate act of mercy when he took my offenses as His own.
The next time you want to be offended at the store or whoever, think about what I have discussed and be merciful.
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I recommend checking this out and other similar messages to go deeper.
Next time we will discuss Going from rejection to favor.
For more resources on developing a kingdom lifestyle, visit https://mikebickle.org/watch/mb_3326.
Watch for my soon-to-launch youtube channel, where I will begin a series on dealing with Rejection. I will mainly deal with those who have been rejected by the church or felt rejected by God.
You can find that soon at Joseph L Floyd