Thursday: Blessed are the merciful

A politician went to have his portrait done and upon seeing the results was quite upset about how his pictures had turned out. He went in and griped at the photographer and said, “These pictures do not do me justice!” “Justice?” the photographer said, “with a face like yours, you do not need justice; you need mercy.”

Question: What is justice? What is mercy?

How mercy builds upon righteousness
   Previously we studied the righteousness of God, of Christ and of humans. Longing for righteousness must be followed by mercy. A poor spirit (5:3) leads to mourning (5:4) which leads to humility (5:5), followed by a desire for righteousness (5:6). We have no righteousness apart from faith.

In light of that, how can we have anything except for a merciful heart? The word for can be translated because. The verse could read, “Merciful people are happy, because they too shall obtain mercy.” They do not carry grudges or keep a score of debts. They dispense mercy, knowing that they have and shall receive mercy themselves, and are happier for it.

We sometimes think mercy is the opposite of justice, but actually it is a complement to it. When we see justice, we see the need for mercy. A mother of a man accused of a serious crime went to Napoleon and pled for mercy. “Mercy for that scoundrel? He doesn’t deserve it!” was Napoleon’s reply. The mother said, “Sir, it wouldn’t be mercy if he deserved it!” The mother's logic prompted Napoleon to relent, “Well, then, I will have mercy.”

Some people use this and other verses on forgiveness to say that God’s mercy on us depends on our mercy towards others. Such thinking is contradictory to what the word mercy means…we shall obtain mercy because of our sins, not because of our good works.

Question: What is the opposite of being a merciful person?

Mercy for the miserable

The Greek word for merciful and mercy is based on eleos which is a descriptive adjective and is not based on emotions. In other words, God doesn’t feel sorry for us, but rather He is a merciful in His nature. The Latin word is miserecordia which sounds a lot like our word, miserable. In fact, the King James translates a Greek word similar to eleos to miserable twice. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable(1 Cor. 15:19)

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17). A person who needs mercy is miserable and a person who refuses to give it will eventually become miserable.

Read Romans 9:16 “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” Luke 6:36 “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”

Now read Matthew 6:12,14-15 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. …For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Questions: Who is it that initiates mercy, God or us? Do we have to do anything to deserve mercy? What do others have to do in order for us to be merciful?

Being merciful is a Be-Attitude

What is your attitude towards others who are miserable and pitiable? The worse someone is, the more they need mercy. In God’s eyes, how someone acts towards us is not what’s most important, but rather how we react. The word merciful is not a noun, but rather an adjective. It describes who the believer is, and not just what he does.

Questions: When you are wronged, do you seek justice or mercy? Now, when you are wrong, do you seek justice or mercy?

When and how do we obtain mercy?

If we are merciful, we may notice that others are merciful toward us and we will see God’s mercy come to us like a reflection in a mirror. It is more than just receiving mercy in heaven, but we shall obtain mercy here as well. So how can we go beyond our hurts and get to healing?  

      Don’ts and do’s                                              Do’s and don’ts

1) Don’t nurse, burn                                   1) Immerse, don’t churn
   (Job 11:16, Acts 19:19)                                 (Mic. 7:19, Prov. 30:33)

2) Don’t rehearse, spurn                           2) Reverse, don’t yearn
   (Heb. 8:12, 10:17)                                         (Isa. 61:3, Ex. 14:12)

3) Don’t curse, learn                                  3) Verse, don’t turn
   (Prov. 9:9, 2 Cor. 1:4)                                 (Ps. 119:10-11)

Thursday’s “Be-Attitude”                                               
Kid’s Korner by Morgan Perry
Have you ever heard the saying, “Treat others the way you want to be treated”? This is exactly what Jesus is talking about in this Beatitude. He is telling us that we should show mercy, or kindness, to people, even when they don’t deserve it. This is because there are times that we need forgiveness and God ALWAYS forgives us. If we show others mercy and forgiveness, we will be given the same from God.
Give an example of how someone has hurt your feelings.
How should you respond to their actions?
Give an example of how you have possibly hurt God’s feelings.
How does He respond to your actions? (When we ask for forgiveness and make every effort to make better choices, God ALWAYS forgives)


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