“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” – Matthew 5:7
Webster’s dictionary defines mercy as “compassion or forbearance (not enforcing due payment)
shown especially to an offender or to one subject to ones power.” Basically, mercy is when a person has
compassion and decides not to collect what is due. For example, if you were late on rent, mercy would
be when the landlord decides to not evict you, and could even grant you more time to come up with
what you owe.
Blessed is the person who grants mercy to others, because they will be given mercy.
Hosea 6:6 says God desires MERCY not sacrifice, and for us to get to know Him, instead of giving burnt
James 2:13 says “mercy triumphs over judgment.”
Luke 6:37 tells us to not judge but to forgive (show mercy).
Micah 6:8 tells us to seek justice and to love mercy.
In Deuteronomy 15, God tells us to forgive someone’s debts after 7 years. What that means is if
someone borrowed from you, give them 7 years to pay you back, and at the end of 7 years whatever
they haven’t paid is to be forgiven and forgotten. That is literally Mercy in action… having compassion
and forbearance toward someone.
Why?? Why does God care so much about us being merciful? Why does God put such an emphasis on
His children being merciful?
There are 2 main reasons I find in scripture to help us understand God’s desire (almost obsession) for
getting His children to be merciful.
The first reason is He is merciful.
One of the most famous sermons ever quoted or mentioned in American history was preached in 1741,
by Jonathan Edwards: Sinners in the hands of an Angry God. As much as that sermon did to bring an
awakening to this country almost 300 years ago, I sometimes wish I could help people understand the
damage this sermon title did for the image of God in this present generation… Listen, I am not saying it’s
a bad sermon at all. It is in fact a beautiful sermon about the mercy of God, about how the only thing
that keeps sinners from falling into hell is God’s mercy. But the title makes God seem like He is an angry
old man with lightning bolts in His fists, ready to destroy everyone on the planet. If we don’t know the
content of the sermon, we get a very twisted picture and image of who God is…
Far too many Christians preach about the anger of God, never seeming to realize He has constantly pled
for His children to be merciful.
Matthew 18:23-35 is a beautiful section of scripture where Jesus again talks about the necessity of
mercy (especially 32-35). Aren’t the red letters beautiful? Check this out: “I canceled all that debt of
yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on
you?” Wow. God loves mercy, and expects us to have mercy on others. Why? Because He is merciful,
and He expects us to be like Him. Ephesians 5:1 says, “Be imitators of God.”
The second reason God wants us to be merciful is a little less obvious, but is still found in scripture.
The entire book of Galatians was written with the intention of correcting a group of believers who were
being convinced that it is more important to follow the Law than it is to be led by Holy Spirit. Let me say
that again: God told Paul to write to a group of His children in order to correct a wrong belief- God
would rather we be led by Holy Spirit than do good things that He wrote in the Law. And at the very end
of the letter, God put something very powerful on Paul’s heart.
“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are of the Spirit should restore him gently. But watch
yourself, or you may also be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law
of Christ… the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life… Therefore, as we
have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”-
Galatians 6:1-10 (1,2,8,10)
Did you catch it? I told you, it’s a little bit tough to see. Being merciful fulfills Christ’s Law- entirely.
When we are merciful to others, believers or not, we are truly fulfilling the Law of Christ. Not outwardly,
in a way that impresses others, but inwardly, in a way that blesses God.
If you’ve ever wondered how to bless God, I can give you a few different ways: worship Him, love Him,
evangelize to people- sharing His love for people, and Be Merciful.
I believe mercy builds people up in Christ. When we are given mercy, it draws us closer to God and to
the person who gave the mercy. When we give mercy, it brings us closer to God and to people. Love
builds us up in Christ (Ephesians 4:16).
Lastly, Jesus didn’t just tell us to be merciful. He said we will be blessed because when we give mercy,
we will be given mercy. The reward for being merciful is we will receive more. We give what we have,
and we gain in return. The more we give, the more we get. Pour out what you have, give it away, bless
people. In return, others will give to you. Even better, God will pour out into your life. It may be
blessings that prosper you, financially or whatever you need… but even more than those temporary
things, God will bless you with Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in Holy Spirit. There isn’t anything better
than that. Bless you
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