The Beatitudes – for they will receive mercy

Written by Kevin Carlson

The merciful will be shown mercy. There is something telling in the second part of this fifth Beatitude. The merciful will be shown mercy. But, we might say, ‘Wasn’t I first shown mercy when God in Christ called me and forgave all my sin? Before I ever had the chance to be merciful within my new Christ given nature mercy was given unto me?’

Here in the Beatitudes the Merciful are those already in the Kingdom of God; those already born anew and rightly called Christian. So there is a future tense given how mercy will be received. We can say then that mercy is both past tense (when I was helpless and in need of a Saviour) and present (God’s mercies are new every day- I still make mistakes and ill judgments…). It is also future and sits in the realm of God’s future judgement. This becomes sober thinking and understanding that we may live by “… every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

In the first instance, this fifth Beatitude speaks of the blessed state of the Christian in their mercifulness; and secondly, the merciful nature of the Christian, in contradistinction to mercilessness, is a true mark of the Christian nature. We can also say that God is merciful and at the same time, without contradiction, is judgmental towards unrighteousness. Mercy is in justice but it is not justice; the same as mercy is in forgiveness but it is not forgiveness –“He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.” (Luke 153)

So where might this leave us? Why not some quiet reflection…..thinking on this character trait of mercy; understanding that God in Christ wants me to be blessed in being merciful and calls me, rightly, to be so…….where ever he may lead me to be so and to do so… every day encounters; better understanding the plight and life situation of others to whom I may have been more judgmental than compassionate towards. Remembering that mercy is in justice but it is not justice.

An Old Testament Scripture: “With what shall I come before the Lord…….He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6 6-8)

Jesus told two well pointed parables on the subject: Luke 1619-31 The Rich man and Lazarus.

Also Matthew 1821-35 The Unmerciful Servant- who showed no mercy towards the one who owed him pittance though he himself previous had begged for mercy for an unpayable debt and had been forgiven. The telling words of Jesus in the conclusion of the parable: “This is how my Father in heaven will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Prayer: My gracious and merciful Father I give you thanks for this new day; this brand new day, this new beginning. As my day now begins I acknowledge afresh your great love for me and your mercies which are new every morning. I arise and stand trusting that whatever the day unfolds you have promised to stand with me. May your Words that lie hidden in my heart now equip me for every task, for every encounter. May your Words encourage, instruct and guide my way. Through Jesus my Lord……

Hymn: I am not worthy

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