Lucia's Blog: 2021-06-27
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Monday, June 28, 2021



“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”  
Matthew 5:7

The Beatitudes described in the Sermon on the Mount are the characteristics of those who belong to Christ’s kingdom. In Matthew 4, Jesus was preaching to the people of His day, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Afterward, Jesus went through Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom, healing all sorts of diseases and afflictions among the people.  When Jesus ascended the mountain, He imitated what Moses did when he received the Law on Mount Sinai.  Jesus was proclaiming the new law, the covenant of the kingdom of heaven.  In Matthew 5:7, Jesus declared, 
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

Mercy is not just a feeling or a sentiment that does nothing.  Mercy compels us to act.  Genuine mercy is shown or expressed in selfless acts of compassion, help, and selfless concern.  Those who are true disciples in God's kingdom are givers of mercy.  Mercy is shown, not merely felt.  In Matthew 23:23, Jesus called mercy one of the weightier matters of the law
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others."

Mercy is not a characteristic of our culture today, nor was it exercised in the first century.  The Roman philosophers of that time called mercy “the disease of the soul.”  It was a sign of absolute weakness.  The Jews also saw it this way.  In Matthew 5:43, Jesus said,
"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy."'

The saying of that culture was to love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  In that culture, mercy was given or reserved only for those who had been merciful to you. Today, our people are no different from the Roman world of that time when Jesus declared the beatitudes or blessed declarations.   Our culture proclaims the same:  “If you don’t look out for yourself, no one else will.” Another slogan in our culture today is: “Don’t get mad; get even.”  Today, our people treat others as little and worthless things, where power is the supreme deity, and financial success is the most important thing in life. Whether they are "believers" or not, our people even say, “Show no mercy.”  To the minds of the Roman world of the first century and even to our minds today, mercy is expressed as weakness.  The truth is mercy shows strength, not weakness.

  • Understanding Mercy:
In Matthew 5:7, Jesus said,
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

Here, the word “mercy” is used to imply compassion, pity, and favor toward the suffering and needy (Matt. 9:27; 15:22; 17:15; 18:33; 20:30).  We have this portrayed in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10).  And though no priest or Levite assisted the man who fell among robbers and was severely beaten, a Samaritan did come to his aid.  The Samaritan took him to an inn and paid for his care.  Thus Jesus asked, “Which of these three, do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” (Luke 10:36).  Then the lawyer responded, “The one who showed him mercy.”  (Luke 10:37)  Here mercy is showing compassion, pity, and favor.  Therefore, mercy is not just a feeling, emotion, or sentiment that does nothing.  Mercy is action.  Mercy is genuine compassion that one expresses from the heart. It is selfless concern and action.  Those who are in God's kingdom must be givers of mercy.  Mercy must be shown and not just felt.  In Matthew 23:23, Jesus calls mercy one of the weightier matters of the Law.

Mercy is not a characteristic of our culture today, nor was it exercised in the first century.  The philosophers of that time called mercy “the disease of the soul.”  It was a sign of absolute weakness.  The Jews also saw it this way.  That is why Jesus told them in Matt. 5:43-48,
“Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy: 44 but I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; 45 that ye may be sons of your Father who is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. 46 For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the Gentiles the same? 48 Ye, therefore, shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

We can clearly see that mercy was given to those who had been merciful to them in these cultures.  Our society and culture today are no different from the Roman world of Jesus' day.  Today, our people say the same things:  “If you don't look out for yourself, no one else will.”  “Don't get mad.  Get even.”  People still behave the same way, treating others like mere objects or impediments to the power or financial success and status that have become the supreme deity in their lives. How sad!  Today when one shows mercy, he is considered weak.

Merciful means being kind and compassionate instead of being overly critical.  God is the source of all mercy, and He loves to be merciful to His children, not wanting anyone to perish.  To love mercy means to be forgiving toward others; steadfastly committed to mercy.  Even the selfish wish to receive mercy!  He who loves mercy is thankful for the mercy that God has extended to him.  The merciful one wants to give mercy to others, for he knows that God is merciful and gracious to him and that He demands that we also be merciful.

When we show mercy to others, we demonstrate our covenant love for one another.  Loving mercy means being faithful to everyone and reaching out in love to those in need who are suffering.  The mindset of mercy impacts all areas of life.  The very heart of the Law of Moses was to love their neighbors as themselves.  It is still required of us under the Law of Christ, for He showed mercy to us when He died and offered His life as a sacrifice so that we might be accepted by His Father.

The Word of God is crystal clear about our need to be merciful (Prov. 11:17; Micah 6:8; Matt. 5:7; Luke 6:36; Colossians 3:12-13 and James 2:8-13).  Our Lord is full of pity and tender mercy (James 5:11).  He has left us the highest example of mercy to follow.  May we constantly examine our hearts to see if we are acting in full pity and tender mercy even as our Father in heaven.

God's mercy is vital to our salvation (Luke 1:76-79, 1 Peter 1:3; Jude 1:21).  Why?  Because without God's mercy toward us who were once sinners (and you know that we all have sinned in our lives), we would have perished because of our sins.  But God's mercy is conditional because if we transgress against His will and do not repent and ask His forgiveness, we will not receive His mercy.  Hebrews 10:26-31 expresses this sentiment well.
“For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries. 28 A man that hath set at nought Moses’ law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: 29 of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

To be merciful does not imply indulging others in their sins or overlooking the sins of others when they continue in sin, for they will not receive the mercy of God.
"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?"  (Romans 6:1-2).  

  • The Mercy of God:
We see our Lord Jesus showing mercy on many occasions.  He was moved with pity and compassion when He looked on people (Matt. 9:36; 14:14; 15:32).  Our Lord showed compassion and love for the lost souls of men.  He showed compassion toward a sinful woman caught in adultery.  We must imitate His attitude of heart and concern for the needs of others.  The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ time failed to show mercy and compassion.  They hated Jesus for showing mercy, looking for opportunities to kill Him.  They succeeded when they nailed Him to the cross.  Even while Jesus was hanging on the cross, with nails driven through His outstretched hands, Jesus still showed mercy  when He said,
“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34)   

We can see an apparent contrast between mercy and forgiveness.  Our Lord's mercy is the basis of His forgiveness.
“But according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior.”  (Titus 3:5-6)

Mercy was fundamental to extending God's forgiveness because His forgiveness flows from His bountiful mercy.  
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:4-6)

Here in Ephesians, it is easy to see the distinction between mercy and forgiveness. While Jesus was on the cross, we saw His mercy as He offered the opportunity of forgiveness to them. Because of God's bountiful mercy and steadfast love, He saved us by Grace and made us alive together with Christ.

God is the Father of mercy (2 Cor. 1:3).  Hence, His children must be full of mercy as God is (James 3:17).  They must love mercy and delight in giving it (Rom. 12:8).  Mercy is a trait that defines God (2 Samuel 24:14; Daniel 9:9; Exodus 34:68; 2 Chr. 30:9).  Mercy must also be a trait that defines Christians (Luke 6:36; Matt. 5:48; James 5:11).  Thus our new temple must have a “mercy seat” in its very own heart (Matt. 5:48; Hebrews 8:10; Eph. 6:6).  And though mercy is a “weighty” matter, it is possible to downgrade it to a “minor” matter (Matt. 23:23).  It is “weighty” because mercy is a part of the very character of God.  Mercy makes one slower to anger and ready to pardon (Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 103:8).  Kindness is mercy (Psalm 117:2).

We must be merciful because this is the very character of God. Jesus declared, 
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful”  (Luke 6:36). 

The mercy of God must renew our minds and hearts every Sunday as we partake of the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper reminds us of the mercy of God.  God’s mercy is the basis of our forgiveness. Our lack of forgiveness and our unwillingness to forgive others result from our lack of mercy toward others.  Mercy compels us to forgive others.  When we fail to forgive others, we are not merciful.  Those who are not merciful are not in the kingdom of heaven and thus cannot be children of God.  

  • Mercy Is A Challenge:
Developing mercy in our character is a challenge.  Why?  Because to show mercy, we must make ourselves vulnerable. People will hurt us when we extend ourselves to help them without reciprocation or thanks. We usually receive nothing in return when we give ourselves to those who need us.  Compassion and pity are not often praised in our world, even though it is the very heart of God that we show to them.  Mercy is no longer mercy if it is deserved. Mercy is undeserved compassion.  We must show mercy to those who do not deserve our mercy. We must have the character of God, for He extends mercy to all. God wants us to show mercy to those who sin against us. The merciful expend themselves to help others.

Often, people misunderstand mercy. Why?  Because they believe that mercy is to ignore or overlook sin completely.  Although God is merciful toward us, it does not mean He will overlook our sins. Mercy recognizes the reality of sin and wrongdoing.  Jesus did not show mercy, pretending that people were not sinning. Jesus did not show mercy without convicting people of their sins. Jesus was merciful by identifying their sins and giving them hope for forgiveness.  Mercy points out and recognizes sin and shows how to reconcile with God. Mercy does good to others, even in the face of opposition or evil.

Stop for a moment and think about what Jesus taught in Matthew.

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” 

This is a solemn declaration that must impact us.  God wants His children to give their hearts to Him and others.  God does not want heartless pew sitters! He wants His children to help and heal.  God commands His children to speak kind words and show mercy to others.  Unkind words don't show mercy. They hurt people and leave them bitter.  Being merciful to others is the test that shows God's mercy to us.  Mercy acts upon opportunities to be merciful givers, like the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. Why not ponder Micah's words spoken to God's people?  
"And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy [kindness; ESV] and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8 NIV)

Being merciful does not imply that one is flippant about the Truth or stops doing what pleases God.  It is not an open door to do what we want and like (1 Thess. 2:4).  Mercy must not be misunderstood, for it does not mean that sin is ignored.  And though our God is merciful toward us, that does not mean He will overlook our sins, for mercy acknowledges the reality of sin and wrongdoing.  Jesus never showed mercy by pretending that people were not sinning. Instead, He convicted them of their sins.  He was merciful when He pointed out their sins and gave them hope of forgiveness through His own blood.  God's mercy points out our sins and then shows us how to reconcile with God.  Mercy does good to others even in the face of opposition, lawlessness, or wickedness.  Mercy means being patient and longsuffering toward those who cannot see things as clearly as we do (Romans 14) rather than debating with unkind words.

Indeed, mercy is a difficult challengebut we must develop it in our character.  Mercy makes one's self vulnerable.  It allows us to be hurt.  It extends self to helping others without expecting anything in return.  Mercy praises the very heart of God and is not earned.  Mercy is no longer mercy if it is deserved, for it is compassion that is undeserved.  The merciful in heart show compassion even when the other person does not deserve it.  We must extend mercy to show the character of God in our lives.  We must show mercy even when others sin against us.  We must expend ourselves to help others and show mercy to them.  God wants His children to be merciful to others, for He will only show mercy to the merciful.

“For judgment is without mercy to him that hath showed no mercy: mercy glorieth against judgment.”  (James 2:13).

  1. How many times do we fail to show mercy to others when we think they should have never put themselves in the mess they're in?   
  2. How many times do we say that they're getting what they deserve?  But how terrible it is for us to demand mercy from others when we fail to give or show mercy to them just because we think they don't deserve it!  
  3. Do we expect God to be merciful toward us and give us what we deserve?  
  4. Do we expect to get what we deserve for how we have treated God?  
  5. Are you not aware that God's mercy must compel us to be gracious, kind, compassionate, and merciful toward others?  
  6. Why not allow God's mercy to transform your heart so you might be more merciful toward others?  

Think about this!


"They Shall Receive Mercy"

The sinner’s plea to God is found in the words, 
“God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13). 

God only shows mercy to the merciful. 
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” 

Listen to the dreadful words of James:
"For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment." (James 2:13)

Aren't these words terrifying to hear?! Judgment will be without mercy to those who show no mercy. We often hear the saying: "That person is getting what they deserve." But do we want that to happen to us? Do we like to receive what we deserve for how we have treated others?  And though we have made many mistakes and shortcomings, do we want to get what we deserve?  What do you think?   Therefore, we must learn to be merciful to others with their flaws and mistakes.  

You know others have been merciful toward us with our many flaws and shortcomings. Yet how often do we refuse to help others, refusing to be merciful because we think they should not have put themselves in their mess in the first place?! So we shout they are only getting what they deserve. It is outrageous for us to demand that others be merciful toward us when we do not extend the same kindness to them!  Additionally, we demand that God be merciful toward us, not give us what we really deserve. Do we want to get what we deserve for how we have treated God?

Mercy toward others begins when we acknowledge our own desperate need for mercy from others, especially from God. Mercy shows compassion to the helpless (Luke 10:37) and extends forgiveness even to those who repeatedly offend us (Matthew 18:21-22).  Mercy does not depend on the qualities of the offender. God showed mercy to us through the cross (Romans 5:8).
“And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?”  (Matthew 18:33)

God’s mercy must compel us to be gracious, kind, compassionate, and merciful toward others.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."

Oh, how we need this! 

May God’s mercy transform our hearts into merciful givers to others.  May we always examine our hearts to see if we are acting in full pity and tender mercy, even as our Father in heaven. May we learn to be merciful to others without regard to their worthiness, expecting nothing in return, so that our gracious Father in heaven may be merciful to us.