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'Blessed are the merciful'

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By Bea Wallen

 Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7). Perhaps the merciful are shown mercy because there are no more wonderful gifts for sinners to receive. 

Mercy is its own reward. 

The poor in spirit will receive the kingdom of heaven. 

The mourners will receive comfort. 

The meek will inherit the earth. 

They that hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled. 

What do the merciful get? 

Mercy.

Without mercy we’d be doomed-not only in the next life but in this one. Without mercy, we could never experience release from the guilt that accompanies our sin. Nor could we release those who sin against us.

I grew up with truckloads of guilt about how I viewed my standing before God and how I may have treated others. But one glorious day, God used a verse of scripture to open my eyes to a reality of the centrality of mercy in Micah 6:8. 

“He hath showed 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.”

When Micah instructs us to love mercy, he isn’t telling us merely to demonstrate mercy or to discipline ourselves to be merciful. He wants us to love mercy, to lose ourselves to be merciful. He wants us to love mercy, to lose ourselves in the beauty of mercy. The person who loves mercy is so thankful that he tells others about what God has done. 

He cherishes mercy; the mere thought of it warms his heart and brings a smile to his face: “God has shown me mercy!”

As I’ve meditated on mercy, I’ve realized this very truth: without guilt, there could be, by definition, no mercy. 

Guilt is a terrible reality, but mercy is more wonderful than guilt is terrible. Without acknowledging my own guilt, I would never sense my need for mercy and I wouldn’t fully apprehend this glorious gift of God.

If you, like me, have suffered from your share of guilt, I invite you to see it as a call to worship. Acknowledge your guilt, and thank God that he has made provision for it in his son, Jesus. Confess that you have fallen short, then worship the God who shows mercy to you in your failings.

But learning to love mercy means more than merely being thankful for the mercy we’ve received. It means we’re eager to show mercy to others, too. Like the father who’s forgiven us, we choose to let go of our grievances and demonstrate grace to those who don’t deserve it — just as we don’t deserve it.

Our thoughts turn from revenge to reconciliation as mercy permeates our souls and becomes our way of life.

When we fail to fall in love with mercy, we often deal with our own sin by denouncing it in others. In contrast, mercy invites us to admit our guilt, receive God’s forgiveness and then stop judging others.

James wrote, “Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). 

Instead of judging others, we can offer them something they don’t deserve: unqualified mercy.

We can give them the very thing we have so joyfully received. 

In so doing, we complete the circle, applying mercy to those who need it as desperately as we do.

As we fall more deeply in love with mercy, we’ll want to spend the rest of our days pointing others toward this glorious gift of our Father. 

As Jesus said, “Freely you have received, feely give.” (Matthew 10:8).

God’s mercy is extended to those whose hearts are sincere. He is not interested in sharing his mercy with those who simply need a quick fix for the problems their sinful lifestyles have created. Such people have no intention of accepting God’s mercy as a new lease on life; they are simply looking for a way to save themselves from deserved consequences.

God wants to show us abundant mercy, but he is looking for those who will gratefully accept it and allow it to change the way they live. Then we can be assured that His unfailing love will last forever.

Lamentations 3:22-23: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

We are blessed to be the recipients of God’s love and mercy-and blessed to be givers of it as well.

From my heart.