Blessed… I Need Mercy

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7, New Revised Standard Version).

Let there be no mistake. I need help! I know I often lack patience with people. I know I can be quick to judge situations where, at best, I have limited information. I am a sinner. I always have been a sinner and I always will be a sinner. And, while I need help, of that let there be no question, I do not deserve help.

I am not alone in my plight. While you may not lack patience with others or you may not judge situations, the rest of that paragraph is true. You need help. You are a sinner. You always have been a sinner and you always will be a sinner. And no, you don’t deserve the help you need anymore than I.

I am a reasonably good guy. I obey all the laws, well most of them anyway. Yes, I drive too fast sometimes but hey, who doesn’t? It doesn’t make me a bad guy. I tithe to my church and even give a little more at times. I also give financial support to a few worthy causes. But that guy who stands on the street corner holding a cardboard sign saying, “Hungry” I can drive right by without giving him a second thought.

Still, I am a good guy. I don’t throw kittens in the river or beat on little puppies. I have mowed my neighbor’s yard before, even as an adult when I didn’t get paid for it. I try to do things for others. I try to be kind but the truth is, there are just sometimes when I fall short of the mark.

There are also those times when I fail to keep the law, God’s law but the law of the land too. I might not be a Charles Manson, but I am also not able to stand before God without blemish. In truth, sometimes I don’t really like the person I see in the mirror. I fail to show mercy to others. I have it on pretty good authority the same probably applies to you too.

Our verse for today reminds me about that. “Blessed are the merciful because they shall receive mercy.” As I read those words it seems pretty clear to me that the converse might also be true. Cursed are the unmerciful because they won’t receive mercy. If that is true, I am in real trouble. All of us are in real trouble.

All of us are in real trouble because all of us fall short of that very lofty goal sometimes. It could be argued that we become unacceptable to God because we show no mercy. In other words, we get what we deserve.

I do think, however, that there is more to this or we would all be doomed. The more is, as people of faith we have love in our hearts for God and neighbor. Yes, because of our human limitations and nearsightedness (metaphorically speaking), we will never be all we should be or want to be. We are going to fall short. That is the bad news. But, there is good news. Even though it is more than we deserve, God makes us worthy of God’s presence through grace. But, we will save that for a future post.

For now, suffice it to say, we have love in our hearts. God put it there. Let the world see the love in your heart in the merciful acts you bestow on others. When we do, despite our shortcomings, we are blessed. We are blessed because we receive mercy.

How do you show mercy to those in the world around you?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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