Blessed are the Merciful
This week's focus: Beatitudes
(We are working our way through the Beatitudes in the book of Matthew. This is the 6th in the series. Click the "previous" button at the bottom of the page to see previous entries or type "Beatitudes" in the search bar at the top.)
What is mercy? The biblical language for mercy suggests compassion for those in need as well as forgiveness for those who have done wrong. Proverbs 14:21, in language very similar to Matthew 5:7, says that the one who shows mercy to the poor is blessed. The Israelites called upon God to show mercy because they had sinned and needed to be forgiven (for example, Psa. 51:1; Isa. 55:7).
Jesus says that those who are merciful will be shown mercy. Does this mean that God will be merciful to us only if we show mercy to others? Is God's mercy contingent upon our actions? Surely not in the big picture. God is the one who is "rich in mercy" and who, therefore, loves us enough to give us new life in Christ (Eph. 2:4-7). Yet as we receive God's abundant mercy, we are expected to be merciful to others (see Matt. 18:23-35). In our acts of mercy, not only is God glorified, but also we open our hearts to receive even more of God's mercy for ourselves.
This beatitude challenges us to look both at our hearts and at our actions. Having received God's mercy, mercy should pervade our feelings and our daily lives.
Questions for Reflection: Are you a merciful person? Do you feel compassion for people in need? Do you act with mercy toward those who need your help? Do you extend mercy to those who have wronged you?
© 2008 by The High Calling and the Theology of Work Project, Inc.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
- Dear Lord, how generous You have been with Your mercy. Not only have You forgiven me for my sins once and for all through Christ, but also You have rescued me time and again from the messes I have made for myself. I have felt Your compassion even and especially when I haven't deserved it. And I have received the tangible benefit of Your mercy so many times in my life. How thankful I am for Your abundant mercy to me. Help me, Lord, to show to others the mercy You have shown to me. May my heart feel compassion for those who hurt, whether they're people I interact with in my daily life or whether they live across the globe from me. And when I am wronged, may I show mercy as I seek to imitate You. Help me be merciful to my family, my colleagues, my neighbors, and all with whom I interact each day. All praise be to You, gracious God, because You are rich in mercy! Amen.
We want to see God honored in America, and we pray for an unprecedented spiritual awakening.
This devotion was produced in partnership with Every Home for Christ.
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