“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,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved