Matthew 5:7 – Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
The Lord now moves to the next Beatitude of being merciful. Mercy is to have compassion or kindness that makes you forgive someone, usually someone you have authority over. Mercy has to do with compassion, forgiveness, leniency.
This Beatitude speaks to those who have already received mercy. To those who have been emptied of pride and brought to poverty of spirit, have received mercy. Those who are able to mourn over their own spiritual condition, and are growing to be increasingly meek and gentle, have received mercy. It is mercy to be made hungry and thirsty after righteousness.
The one who has received mercy is expected to show mercy. When we say, “Lord have mercy on me!” we are asking God to forgive us. In the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35), the Lord illustrates the power of God’s mercy, how much He forgives, shows compassion and leniency to the servant. The Lord is saying, those who have received mercy will be merciful.
You and I have received richly of God’s mercy. His mercy is not to be hoarded, but to be distributed freely, just as God distributes sunshine and rain on the just and the unjust alike (Matthew 5:44-45). Those who have received mercy, are grateful and will treat others out of gratitude for the mercy they have received. Mercy, however is different from grace. John Stott makes a distinction between grace and mercy that is helpful, he says that “grace is pardon for sin and its condemnation while mercy is compassion for sin’s consequences and its victims that leads to cure, healing and help.”
James says, mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13). To be merciful is to be patient with people and even when their ways are different from ours. One who is merciful is able to reach out and help even someone who hurts them. It is to be willing to give people a second chance and value people over procedure or rules. One who is merciful makes it a practice to look out for and expect good in others rather than the worst. When you are merciful you don’t exercise your authority to get your way, but rather use it when you are protecting or helping others. A merciful person refrains from comments that will embarrass or make the other feel ashamed. A merciful person is gentle and kind even in times of confrontation.
The Lord says, if you are merciful, you will receive mercy. In other words, if we want to receive mercy, we need to be merciful. David sinned, in terrible ways, and yet God was merciful to him. Ever wonder why? David showed remarkable mercy and kindness to an unworthy Saul, on several occasions. Those who are grateful for mercy, are merciful. The bottomless well of mercy extended, should motivate and compel one to pass on the blessing.
What compels your interactions with people?
Lord may I be ever driven by the immeasurable mercy I have received from you, I pray.