“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
(Matthew 5:7 ESV)
Showing mercy is an act of faith. As we show mercy we are trusting in Christ’s way of kingdom living and renouncing the world’s.
Mercy is love for those in misery and a forgiving spirit toward the sinner. Hendriksen
In the first four beatitudes we realize our spiritual bankruptcy, we mourn and turn from our sin, we look to God and trust him at all times, and we begin to hunger and thirst for God above everything…..now we can show mercy. We understand mercy better as we cling to the mercies of God. In the next few beatitudes Jesus is telling his kingdom people how to show love to the world…and he begins with mercy.
To be merciful means to be actively compassionate. In one sense it means to withhold punishment from offenders who deserve it. In a wider sense it means to help others in need who cannot help themselves. Hendriksen
The Lord has showed us his rich mercies by not pouring his wrath out upon his sheep and promising never to do so! Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God took our place….grace! God has showed mercy to me, I must show mercy to others. I believe that a God-glorifying focus that shows mercy to others must be full of faith and exude with confidence in God’s ways.
The world does not teach us to show mercy to those who wrong us, especially if it is a great offense. By not showing mercy to sinners like us we choose instead to exact punishment. We do not need to like what they have done, nor should we. Mercy in this regards acknowledges that sin has taken place and harm has be done. But instead of making the offender pay from our hands and hearts we show the mercy that we have been given from God. You may, by the grace of God, be able to show mercy to someone who has committed a terrible sin or crime against you or your family. This does not mean that they will not receive the consequences of the crime from the state or government. But within each situation mercy can be shown, even through a broken, hurting heart that is being held together by God’s very own mercies. Our own hearts know that it too has committed wrongs that should not have been forgiven. In our own lives we cling to the mercies of God when we have sinned. May God give us faith to be like Jesus. The world does not teach us to show mercy. It teaches us to make others pay, and pay as long and as much as possible.
We must have compassion on the souls of others, and help them; pity those who are in sin, and seek to snatch them as brands out of the burning. Matthew Henry
Mercy is also seeing the pains and hurts of others and showing them love by being used by God to help meet some of their needs. A child of God is to know that being a citizen of the kingdom of God is to be one who shows works of mercy. We are to take care of one another. We are not told here to only take care of those who are of the kingdom. We are to show love and mercy to all with the hopes of them one day hungering and thirsting for righteousness. This world would be a different place if citizens of the kingdom obeyed Jesus and showed mercy.
Showing mercy to sinners who hurt us and others, and showing mercy to those who are hurting is a doorway for the gospel. Two avenues that give us a great opportunity to point to Jesus, the One who has showed us mercy and the one who owns the world and can eternally meet our needs and comfort our hearts.
Much like evangelism being incorrectly talked about as being only a gift for some, mercy seems to come with the same confusion. Whereas some are gifted more than others and may indeed have this spiritual gift, we are all told to show mercy. I do not have the option to just say that I don’t have the gift of evangelism and set out to not share the gospel. Nor do I have the freedom to not show mercy. We should not be content if we are weak in showing mercy. This is being weak in faith. Jesus tells us here to be merciful, and if we have eaten from Christ and are children of God we can depend on him to change us and give us strength to show mercy in a merciless world. Mercy shown to the undeserved sinner and the hurting people of the world will require great faith and Spirit led power. If you lack mercy, you may be trusting too much in the world’s way and be living a faithless life.
Lord give us faith and courage to forgive, show mercy, and to meet the needs of others through you! May we help others out of the storms that rage within the hearts of those who are spiritually poor and those who are physically poor. May we help them to see that you desire for us to cling to you as you glorify your name in and through us. May we even grow to take pleasure in showing mercy to sinners as we see your glory shine forth.