“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” – Matthew 5:7
The text for today is one of the Beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus. I think the Christian must seriously and constantly ask himself/herself this question: “Am I merciful”? Many of us love the Beatitudes, because they are associated with blessings but they involve work. Showing mercy is one act that God rewards as Jesus clearly stated in His sermon on the Mount.
Now, what is mercy? In order to be merciful, we need to know what mercy means. In its simplest form, mercy means pardon, compassion or forgiveness. To put it into context, instead of getting punished for something that you have done, you have been forgiven by the person who has the power or authority to punish. For example, you have wronged a neighbour by stealing his money; and when he discovered what you have done, instead of getting you arrested by the police, he decided to forgive you.
Being merciful means that instead of rewarding evil for evil, you choose to forgive. It also means having compassion on the less fortunate. When you give to the poor out of a clean heart, you are being merciful.
Without the mercy of God, you and I wouldn’t be alive today. Without the mercy of God, there will be no human race for the Bible says that “there is none righteous“, (Romans 3:10) and “the wages of sin is death“, (Romans 6:23). So we are all sinners before God and we all deserve to die; but we are told that “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not“, (Lamentations 3:22). So you can clearly see that it is God’s mercies that is sustaining us in this life. Apart from that, I believe you can at least remember a moment when you did something that deserves punishment but was pardoned. Or you lacked something seriously at one point and someone had mercy on you and gave.
Before I continue, it is important to note that God’s mercy is what is sustaining both the believer and unbeliever in this world. The Christian is encouraged to be merciful because God is merciful. It is also important to note that God’s mercy will not save you from eternal damnation. What will save you from eternal damnation is believing in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life“, (John 3:16).
Now, there are blessings associated with being merciful but, the Christian must know that mercy is required of him/her. The Bible 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?” (Micah 6:8). God requires of us to deal justly with people and at the same time be merciful. Justice has to do with giving the right punishment/reward. Justice does not know favouritism. In effect, justice is about doing the right thing.
God does not ask us to do something that He Himself does not do. Mercy is one of the greatest attributes of God and He continues to show us each moment of every day. Remember that you are required to be merciful towards people. So, the next time someone wronged you and you want to do to him/her what was done to you, remember this promise of God: “Blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy“.