The Beatitudes: 5. Mercy

The Beatitudes: 5. Mercy

The Beatitudes: 5. Mercy.

Please read Matthew 5:3-10.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt. 5:7).

Congratulations! You are one of God’s favorites when you compassionately share someone’s misery and relieve their difficulty. You are to be envied! For putting God’s love into action towards others puts His love into action for you!

Mercy can be described as: Eagerly putting love into action; offering thoughtful and purposeful kindness; living a lifestyle of compassion; looking actively with favor to those in need; the desire to relieve someone’s misery.

Mercy starts out in the gut as compassion. That’s the starting point. Then this gut feeling moves into personal action. Mercy starts with compassion and then translates into application. The heart is moved, then the hands and feet take over. One can be compassionate without being merciful if we allow our compassion to stop at the feeling level.

What does mercy look like at the practical level? Just read the Gospels. Jesus is the ultimate example of someone being merciful. His heart was tender, His eyes were open, His hands were ready. A prodigal son wasted his inheritance? Welcome him home. A sexual offender? Minister to her. A thieving tax collector? Eat dinner with him. An untouchable leper? Touch him. An insane demoniac? Kick out the demons. A cautious Pharisee? Meet him at night. Some overlooked children? Bless them. Disabled? Blind? Injured? Sick? Heal them all. An only son dead? Raise him up. Hungry listeners in the middle of nowhere? Feed them. Frustrated fishermen? Bring in the fish. A disciple ashamed of himself? Give him hope. Enemies? Forgive them. Jesus was mercy personified. His lifestyle demonstrated the heart of the Father. And we haven’t even mentioned the Cross.

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36). Mercy is the character quality that most clearly reflects the character of God. Mercy is God’s chief attribute, the main way He shows His power. “It is better to limit belief in God’s power than to dampen faith in God’s mercy. Between mercy and power, mercy takes precedence. And to the mercy of heaven there is no limit… Beyond all mystery is the mercy of God. It is a love that transcends the world. To live by such a love, to reflect it, however numbly, is the test of religious existence.” (Abraham Joshua Heschel).

Every human being is made in God’s image. If mercy is God’s main attribute, it is meant to be ours as well. How can we reflect God’s image if we don’t demonstrate God’s character? When we show mercy, we are living into a heart that is transformed by the mercy of God. “When we deal with God, everything is mercy. Everything else than can be said of God is but an aspect of His mercy. His mercy stretches out to both extremes of infinity. All we will ever discover of God will be the deepening levels of His great, abundant, overflowing, rich, endless mercy.” (Patrick Henry Reardon).

O, that God would make us equal to the task of reflecting God’s mercy in the world.

“Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies. The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health.” (Psalms 41:1-3).

“O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).

“The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.” (Ps. 103:8, 11, 13).

“The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation. The Lord always keeps his promises. He is gracious in all he does. The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath there loads.” (Ps. 145:9, 13, 14).

“Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.”  (Proverbs 11:17).

“There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” (James 2:13).

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Love a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2).