Stephanie Pavlantos: Mercy!
How blessed are those who show mercy! For they will be shown mercy.~Matthew 5:7 CEV
One of my mom’s favorite expressions of surprise is “Mercy!” Imagine that with a Southern accent.
My youngest son, Michael loved to imitate her by repeating it when she visited. My mom always got a kick out of it. Even though my mom is no longer able to drive up to see us–and for now is living in South Texas–Michael will occasionally go around the house saying, “Mercy” like her.
Today we are going to discuss the next Beatitude on mercy.
In other posts in this series, I have reminded you that each of the Beatitudes builds on the first one. The fifth Beatitude comes with the promise: You get what you give.
For us, a place of mercy comes only after knowing we are beggars in total dependence on God (see Blessed are the Poor in Spirit), mourning over our sin (see Joy Comes in the Mourning), being meek in the sense that we look into our hearts for areas of uncleanness (see O the Blessedness of the Meek), and our desperation for God’s righteousness (see Do You Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness?).
Mercy is not getting what we deserve.
So, what do we deserve?
Death! We certainly don’t deserve eternal life, forgiveness, or the ability to repent. But, eternal life is the gift of God through His grace.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.~Ephesians 2:8-9 CJB
Grace is getting what we don’t deserve.
However, in Hebrews, we see that when we approach the throne of God we receive mercy like a gift.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.~Hebrews 4:16 CJB
Mercy is both a noun and a verb. In the Hebrew language, the noun is “Ra-cha-min.” The verb form or the act of having mercy comes from the root word, “re-chem” meaning womb. https://hebrew.jerusalemprayerteam.org/mercy-compassion-womb/
Not only is it a feminine organ, but life begins and grows in the womb. The bond and compassion a mother has for a child is the very definition of mercy. Life starts at conception and ends when God decides. All life is precious to God–the life of the unborn and born, the disabled–physical, mental or otherwise, the foster child, homeless, rich, poor, abused, and elderly–Their. Life. Matters. God created them in His image and their life should not end until God deems it.
Our mercy should extend to any person or animal that is in need of our care. Someday it might be us needing care. We get what we give.
Jesus also told us He will show mercy to the merciful.
If you are anything like me, you need mercy every day. Fortunately, God is ready and willing to give us mercy. But, we must receive it. Will you take it? Taking this gift has one requirement…to give it away.
I give mercy when I forgive someone when I overlook a bad mood or a mistake. Mercy can look like buying a coffee or lunch for someone who isn’t very nice to you.
A little over a year ago, a woman we’ve known came over for instruction to take care of my goats and ducks while we were out of town the following week.
It had rained for over a week and our property was muddy. The goats, ducks, and chickens didn’t want to leave the barn, either. Because of the mud, my husband was unable to get his tractor into the barn to clean it up. As a result, the goats’ white coats and legs were getting dirty and the barn was ripe. Instead of lying on the raised pallets, my husband gave them, the goats sat in the mud.
Everything seemed okay until she left and I started getting texts. Apparently, our friend didn’t think much about our barn or animals so she complained to her friend by texting her on the drive home. She texted me before she came over, so instead of sending her messages to this friend she mistakenly sent them all to me. After the first two, I stopped looking at them. They were hurtful and mean.
My husband, on the other hand, saw all of them. See, she was driving while recording and sending each message and didn’t see my response to the first one which was: “I don’t think these messages are for me!”
Finally, after about ten or eleven messages (she must have gotten home) she realized the messages went to my phone and tried to explain.
She didn’t apologize except to say she was very particular about her animals, but she really did like me and thought I was a saint for putting up with my husband. Yep, not really an apology. My husband is a good man and a hard worker who takes care of our property by himself.
After we told her we wouldn’t need her to take care of our animals, I think she realized we were upset.
I also tutor her son twice a week.
We talked it out a bit more when she came by to drop him off a few weeks later. She was frank, blunt, and a little outspoken, as well as an atheist. I felt the Lord tell me to put this situation behind me. I needed to be merciful. Amazingly enough, the Lord healed my heart and gave me the ability to forgive her. She still comes over–except we don’t let her in our barn–and I still tutor her son.
I pray for her to know Jesus and that she will let Him change her heart.
God taught me that I am no better than this woman at times. I can easily complain about someone who does things differently than I do or who practices their Christianity in a way that seems legalistic or strange to me. I need mercy when I treat others badly, too. He is Good!
How have you had mercy shown to you?
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace. Help me to show mercy to others as You have shown to me.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Genre: Bible study
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