MERCY IS A GIFT TO GIVE AND RECEIVE
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:7
I remember growing up playing a game called mercy. If you have never heard about this game, it was not one that was about helping others in their time of need. Mercy growing up for me was a game where two people locked hands and tried to inflict as much pain as possible until the other person until someone cried out mercy. That was my reference point for mercy until I got to be about 10 years old. Not exactly the image of mercy that we probably should be looking at today as we step into Jesus' lesson on mercy, but mercy is a difficult word not so much for us to understand but to truly apply in our lives. Merriam Webster defines mercy as "compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power." One of the modern day versions of mercy is shown to me in a TV show called Caught in Providence. Judge Caprio sits behind his judges chair and really takes time to listen and provide justice but in a way that demonstrates love, compassion and mercy to those who have broken the law. He tries to do everything in his power to help those that are truly sorry and provides ways for them to understand their poor decisions without crucifying them on a cross.
My question to many of us today is how was mercy taught to you and how is mercy taught by you in today's world. In many movies, both giving and receiving mercy is seen as a sign of weakness and so mercy is really demonstrated by death instead of forgiveness. See, that is a tough question for anyone to answer. Are there levels to our mercy? What I mean by that is are we willing to admit that we will show mercy only to a point in our lives. We are willing to give mercy if we are not truly wronged to a great degree. In other words, we will show mercy
for the small things, but when we get to a point where we are deeply injured or hurt, we respond more with the attitude of an eye for an eye instead of showing them ultimate grace and forgiveness. I will be honest that I too struggle with weighting mercy but try to do all that I can to live a life and example of showing others the same mercy to which God shows me every day. It is a lesson that I am continuing to work on because mercy is the application and action of grace that we show to others on a daily basis. It is a gift that we are excited to receive but not so excited to reciprocate out into the world.
See today as we look into the beatitude that Jesus used today, it challenges me and also gives me comfort. As I am truly not a person who preaches a prosperity gospel, I am not saying today that we are going to receive this gift from God because we are searching for something in return. As with each of these teachings on happiness and wisdom, Jesus is expressing once again an act of humility and attrition in our hearts. Some people are searching for the response they will receive, but Jesus is expressing the importance of seeking the Kingdom of God in the lives of each person that God has created. Jesus is telling us that we are to be kingdom minded and not think about what we will receive but in fact through the blood of Christ we have already received each day as a gift of grace from God. Are we willing to give back to others the same act of mercy that Jesus has given to us. I have said before that because of our sins we actually deserve death, but that through the blood of Christ we have been shown mercy to walk through this life to change our attitudes and to impact the world. Jesus refers to this act of giving without receiving when He says blessed are the merciful. Jesus is emphasizing that they will receive a gift but not because they are seeking a gift. They are receiving the same gift that has already been given to them and they have not fully understood the meaning of mercy until they give it away themselves.
Hopefully I have not confused you today, but I really do want to emphasize that the closer that we grow to God, the more ability we have to see life from the perspective of Christ. In the early days of my life, all I wanted to do was win and win at any cost. But the older I get, the more I realize that true victory may come through defeat if I am able to learn a valuable lesson and teach my daughters that losing sometimes means winning. Jesus said Himself that you have to lose your life to gain it, and I have wrestled with that all of my life until I finally gave ownership of my life fully to God. I began to see mercy in a new light because of the MERCY that I truly take for granted to just be here today. Every car that I pass on the road is an act of God's mercy that something doesn't happen and my life is may be over. Every sin that I commit, God the Righteous Judge has every right to sentence me to death...
but the defender or my life, Jesus, who stepped in and paid the price for my sin to show me love, grace and mercy. Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy. Please hear me when I say that maybe that is not a new gift that you receive, but that when you finally begin to apply mercy in your daily life, you will be SHOWN mercy. Your eyes will finally be opened to the reality that we deserve the penalty of death and separation from God, but through HIS MERCY, God sent Jesus to come and open our eyes to the true picture of mercy... Jesus on a cross that gave His life to save ALL of the world. I close with the words that is known all throughout the world that demonstrates God true mercy. For GOD so LOVED the world, the HE GAVE, His ONE and ONLY SON, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him will NOT perish but have everlasting life. For God did NOT send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to SAVE the WORLD through HIM John 3:16-17. Can you see mercy now?