S19P5 – The beatitudes: mercy paid forward
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
In scripture, we are given many instructions that follow the theme we see in today’s verse. Paul tells us that we reap that which we sow [Gal. 6:7]. Jesus tells us to do to others only what we would want done to us [Matt. 7:12]. He also tells us that we receive forgiveness from the Father only as we first forgive others [Matt. 6:14-15]. It is clear from the body of scripture that we cannot expect from God that which we do not extend to others. The mercy we request of him, the mercy we need to enter his holy priesthood and become citizens of his kingdom, is available and free. But we can access it only if we extend that same mercy to others.
I just had a conversation this weekend with someone who is experiencing turmoil within the family. In an effort to heal wounds and be the bigger person, she held out her olive branch only to have it torn from her hand and trampled on. In the process, she was made to look like a fool. Our sinful nature tells us to wash our hands of people who treat us like that and discard them. Our spirit, however, tells us to forgive them and continue to desire restoration of the relationship. For many years I was God’s enemy. Unlike man, He at no time washed his hands of me. He continued to pursue me, to be available to me, to draw me to him. He did not give up on me although I trampled on his name time and time again. If I am to receive this mercy that God has shown, I must show the same mercy to others. In fact, because his Spirit lives in me, I should desire to show mercy as He desires to show mercy.
It is not hard work for us to be merciful to others if we understand the mercy God has shown us. As his Spirit lives inside us, we need only allow the mercy of that Spirit, the Holy Spirit who is a person of God, to make mercy rise within us. While my flesh may not desire to extend mercy, my spirit surely does. Father, help us to decrease ourselves and increase You within us, that we would obey the prompting of your Holy Spirit that tells us to be merciful, and that we would desire mercy for others as You desire mercy for us.