Summary: 1- Demonstrate mercy 2- Pursue peace
INTRO.- ILL.- Do you remember the 1966 Clint Eastwood movie entitled, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”? It’s just one of many cheaply made, Italian films that helped to make Clint Eastwood famous.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY. Have you had a run-in with any of those people lately? If not those, then how about the good, the bad and the crazy?
Generally, you run into these kinds of people out in the working world but they can be found anywhere.
ILL.- For example, here are two entirely different people for whom I worked. It was my first job: the Foodtown Grocery store in Webb City, MO. The Manager was as nice a guy as you would ever find. He was pleasant, helpful, and had a kind way about him. He seemed almost too kind to be a store manager who had to tell people what needed to be done. He was a Christian and his father was a minister.
On the other hand was the Assistant manager. He was an older guy who acted like he knew everything about the grocery business because he’d been in it most of his life. And he may have known everything about it. The only problem was, he was more blow than go. And it’s possible that he was just tired, but it was much easier to work for the manager than the assistant manager.
What if you had to deal with people who talked like this:
- "If you don’t like it, leave. It’s my way or the highway."
- "You don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m right."
- "Drop whatever you’re doing - I need this completed ASAP."
Or how about these types of people: the busybody, the antagonist, indecisive, complainer, spoiler, deadbeat, know-it-all, volcano, Sherman tank, crybaby, user, etc.
It would be hard to take some of these people, wouldn’t it? It would be hard to work with such people or for such people. Everyone has to deal with at least one difficult person in life.
How do you deal with difficult people? For that matter, how do you deal with anybody in life? Good, bad or otherwise?
ILL.- A little boy had misbehaved big time. As punishment his mother made his sit at a table by himself during the evening meal. After the meal was finished and his mom, dad, two brothers and sister were about to leave, the little boy bowed his head and said, “Thank you, Lord, for preparing a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
Prayer is definitely one way to deal with people. I’m not sure that’s the right way to pray, however. It’s always right to praise the Lord, even in the midst of our troubles.
PROP.- In the beatitudes Jesus gives us two ways to deal with difficult people and all people for that matter.
1- Demonstrate mercy
2- Pursue peace
I. DEMONSTRATE MERCY
Matt. 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
ILL.- A young lady who occasionally walked through the park after work, stopped to have her picture taken by a photographer on this particular day. She was very excited about her picture being taken. As she walked out of the park, she looked at the Polaroid picture in total amazement. She turned and headed back to the cameraman. When she got there she stated, "This is not right! This is not right! You have done me no justice!"
The photographer looked at the picture and looked at her and stated, "Miss, you don’t need justice, what you need is mercy."
We all need mercy for something, perhaps more for our behavior than for our looks. And we may be quick to ask for mercy from God but are we quick to demonstrate mercy to others?
There are many things that we live with in our own lives, but we can’t seem to stand them in other people’s lives: bad temper, frivolous lifestyle, lack of commitment, etc.
Matt. 9:9-14 “As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. 10While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ’sinners’?" 12On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: ’I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
The church is for sinners and is made up of sinners. Of course, mostly sinners that are saved by His grace, but all sinners should be welcome. However, some churches are quick to boot people out if they don’t live up to their standards.