Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
What is it about being merciful that is so hard for the Christian to understand? I see more and more cases of mercy being thrown out the window by people who call themselves Christians. A lack of mercy shows up in the form of backbiting, gossiping, blaming, envy, jealousy, strife, contention – the list goes on and on – within the church. This is a direct result of the world invading the church. How has this happened?
First, let’s take a look at what mercy is. Webster’s defines mercy as “compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power.” or “a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion” or “compassionate treatment of those in distress”. I like all three of these definitions, and all three should be applied by us. When we look st Strong’s Concordance.many different words are used for mercy. All of them focus around having pity and compassion on others. It is both a noun and a verb and when used as a verb the text is always mercy that is shown. In other words it is an action taken that someone else benefits from.
A study I just went through, called “What the Bible says about Mercy” by Rex Andtews (I highly recommend this book which is readily available on Amazon) describes mercy as God’s supply system for every need. I love this definition. By His mercy, He supplies us with the things we need in life as we follow Him and ask for those things. He also supplies the answers to our prayers through mercy. When we pray mercy for others, God goes into action. Especially when we pray mercy for those who have wronged us or hurt us. This is the ultimate intercession – asking God to have mercy on our enemy. Jesus told us to bless those who persecute us, which is a giving of mercy.
Mercy is to have compassion on someone else, pure and simple. It is an action, not just a feeling. Mercy helps someone in need, prays for someone afar off, provides for someone when they are down, visits the sick and those in prison, clothes the naked, and takes care of the fatherless and the window. Mercy is a calling on every Christians life. If you want to walk in the will of God, simply do mercy at every opportunity.
In Exodus 34:5-7, God describes Himself:
5 And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
God says He is Merciful, Gracious, longsuffering, good and true. These are the primary attributes of God, and thus should also be our primary attributes. We are made in the image of God (Gen 3:26) This image is His spiritual image. The calling on all of our lives is to be more like Jesus, right? Jesus walked as an ambassador of God. He was God in the flesh. And what did He do while he was on this earth? He healed all who came to Him, He fed the hungry, He visited the outcast. He showed mercy everywhere He went. And we should too. It is not an option, it is a requirement.
Micah 6:8 says
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
God requires that we do justly, love mercy and walk humbly before Him. To do justly means to act without prejudice, bias or anything else that would deem one person less worthy of our mercy than another. To love mercy means that we share it wherever we go. It takes walking in humility to do this on a consistent basis because we have to put the other first and consider their feelings above our own. These three things are intimately tied together and they are required of those who love God. How are you doing with these three things? I still have a lot to learn, but I strive to do my best.
This is a direct result of the previous lesson, hungering and thirsting after righteousness. In fact, since we haven’t talked about this before, the beatitudes build on one another. They are put in this order for a reason. Jesus never speaks just to put words out there, He spoke lessons that come with a certain order, and this list at the beginning of Matthew Chapter 5 is a great example. Above all, we must be poor in spirit, or humble, to even begin to see the rest of the list begin to work in our lives. Next, we must mourn about our own shortcomings and sins. To do this takes humility. We must also mourn over the sins of others to the point that we want to see them saved. Jesus mourned to the point of death over my sin. Then in meekness we can walk in the power of God without being overbearing or confrontational. This meekness is a result of the humility in out heart and the grief over our own sin. It allows us to speak and teach with authority while maintaining civility. As we walk in this meekness, we start to hunger and thirst to do the right thing – for righteousness. This righteousness in our lives then shows itself as we do mercy, Do you see the progression? Have you taken the steps accordingly?
The wonderful result of being merciful is that we will then obtain mercy. In Exodus 33:19 we read:
And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
God decides who He will show mercy to, not us. And He says in Matt 5:7 that those who are merciful will obtain mercy. I desire God’s mercy every day of my life, don’t you? This is a guaranteed way to receive it. Don’t get me wrong, though. Having God’s mercy working in your life does not mean you will be free from trials or test. These will still come. These are the perfecting agents for our faith (see my study on Patiently Perfected). But in the midst of our trials, we can see God’s mercy being poured out if we just look for it. In the midst of our struggles we can still do mercy. Doing God’s mercy in the midst of our own battles is what will carry us through. Mercy is always available to us, in every situation, at any time. I depend on it daily. And I show it all I can.
My hope and prayer is that the church will rise up and start to carry out the second greatest commandment. Thou shalt love the neighbor as thyself. This is mercy enacted. No more bickering and clamoring. No more argument and strife. No more backbiting and gossiping. Preach the word of God and not man’s doctrine and these things can be accomplished. Show mercy at ever opportunity. The first and most effective way we show mercy is by the words we speak. Ephesians 4:29 eloquently puts it this way:
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
That your words will always minister grace to the hearers. That is showing mercy. That is the call of God and the road to mercy for you. Start today to live out this verse, and we will see it become contagious, spread through our churches and bring unity once again to the body of Christ. A unity of mercy!
To close this lesson, I would like to share with you two other things from Rex Andrew’s book. The first is his full definition of mercy:
Mercy is God’s supply system for every need everywhere
Mercy is that kindness, compassion and tenderness which is a passion to suffer with, or participate in, another’s ills or evils in order to relieve, heal and restore.
Mercy accepts another freely and gladly as he is and supplies the needed good of life to build up and to bring to peace and keep in peace.
Mercy is to take another into one’s hearts JUST AS HE IS and cherish and nourish him there.
Mercy takes another’s sins and evils and faults as its own and frees the other by bearing them to God.
This is the Glow-of-Love.
This is the Anointing.
The second thing is called the Mercy prayer. This is a prayer that should be prayed for anyone who comes into our mind, especially those who we are offended, hurt or angered by or upset with. It is a powerful prayer that God will answer and helps diffused the situation.
- Lord, I thank you for _______________ .
I thank you for saving him. I thank you for what you
have done and are doing in his life
Eph1:16: Phil. 4:6, Col 1:3, 1 Thes 1:2: 5:18; 2 Thes 2:13
- Make ______________ to know Jesus.
Help him to increase in the knowledge of God. Destroy speculations and every lofty thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and help him to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
John 17:3; 2 Cor. 10:5; Col 1:10; 2:3; 3:10
- Make ________________poor in spirit.
Bring him down, Lord, but please do it gently. Help him to see his neediness. Help him to see himself in light of you. Put him in his rightful place.
Ps. 51:17; Matt. 5:3; Prov. 29:23; Isa. 66:2; 1 Peter 5:5
- Fill ________________ with your Holy Spirit.
Immerse him in your spirit Lord. Come to him in power and might. Baptize him in fire Lord.
Luke 3:16; John 1:3; Gal 5:16; Eph 5:18; Acts 2:17, 18, 38
Life him according to your Thy loving-kindness. Pour out your life giving mercies into his soul.
Ps. 80:18; 119:25, 37, 50, 88, 107, 149, 154, 156, 159, Ps. 143:11; Ro 8:11
- Bless ______________________.
Lord, bless him in everything he touches. Bless him spiritually, physically and financially. Bless his loved ones. Do for him, Lord, instead of me.
Gen. 12:1-3; prov. 10:22; Matt 5:44; ro. 12:14, 20; I Peter 2:23; 3:9
- Mercy ________________________.
Flood him with need- filling mercies. Pour them out in super abundance. Find and meet every need in his life.
* Flood the one I am looking at in my heart and mind with fulfilling mercies, filling all his need. As you have mercied me, so mercy him. Ps. 86:5; Hosea 6:6; Matt 9:13; 2 Cor 1:3
My suggestion is that you pray about these two passages from the book and incorporate them into your lives. Mercy will come alive to you when you do.