Summary: Fifth in a series of sermons from the Beatitudes on developing Christian character
Blessed Are The Merciful
TEXT: Matthew 5:7
D. A young boy was sent to the corner store by his mother to buy a loaf of bread. He was gone much longer than it should have taken him. When he finally returned, his mother asked, “Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick about you.”
“Well,” he answered, “there was a little boy with a broken bike who was crying. So I stopped to help him.”
“I didn’t know you knew anything about fixing bikes,” his mother said.
“I don’t,” he replied. “I just stayed there and cried with him.”
E. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”
F. Continuing down thru Beatitudes looking at ingredients of Christian character
I. DEFINITION OF MERCY
A. Word that is full of meaning
1. Gr – eleos – kindness or good will toward the hurting & needy,
joined with a desire to help them
B. Charles Swindoll – It does not mean only to sympathize with a person in the
popular sense of the term; it does not mean simply to feel sorry for someone
in trouble. It means the ability to get right inside the other person’s skin.
Clearly this is much more than an emotional wave of pity; this demands a
deliberate effort of the mind & of the will. It denotes a sympathy which is not
given, as it were, from the outside, but which comes from a deliberate
identification with the other person, until we see things as he sees them, &
feel things as he feels them.
1. What the little boy did in the opening story – he didn’t know anything
about fixing bikes, but he could sense the disappointment and hurt of
having a broken bike. So he just sat down & cried with him
C. Mercy shows itself in different ways in our lives
II. MERCY SHOWS ITSELF THROUGH FORGIVING OTHERS
A. As we are able to get into the skin of another, to feel what they’re feeling, &
to see things from their point of view, forgiving them will become much easier.
B. Problem is that when we’ve been hurt or wronged, being merciful & forgiving
isn’t the first thing that comes to our minds. We want to get back.
(IL) Like the man who went to the doctor & the doctor told him he had rabies. The man immediately took out a piece of paper and a pen and started writing feverishly. The doctor thought he was writing his will so he said, “Wait a minute. No need to write your will. You’re not going to die.” The man replied, “Doc, I’m not writing my will. I’m making a list of people I want to go bite.”
1. Hurt people hurt people
2. We try to forgive – we sometimes bury the hatchet but leave the
handle sticking out of the ground
C. Struggle is that we want justice not mercy
1. To forgive means giving up our sense of justice
a. Jerry Bridges in The Practice of Godliness, writes, “Forgiveness
cost God his Son on the cross, but what does it cost us to
forgive one another? Forgiving costs us our sense of justice.
We want to see ‘justice’ done, but the justice we envision
satisfies our own interests. We must realize that justice has
been done. God is the only rightful administrator of justice in all
of creation, & his justice has been satisfied. In order to forgive
our brother, we must be satisfied with God’s justice & forgo the
satisfaction of our own.”
b. Justice already served when Jesus died on the cross
(1) Where He died not only for your sin, but also for the sin
of the one who wronged you
D. Mercy shows itself thru forgiving others
III. MERCY SHOWS ITSELF THRU HELPING THOSE IN NEED
A. Scripture full of exhortations and examples of caring for the needy
1. Prov 14:21. He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who
is kind to the needy.
2. Prov 14:31. He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their
Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
3. Acts 4:34-35. There were no needy persons among them. For from
time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
(IL) Tony Campolo story – a friend of his, we’ll call Anne, was a divorced,
middle-aged lady who was rather well off. She wanted very much to go to Calcutta to work with Mother Theresa. She wrote to Mother Theresa & told her how much she wanted to come & do this. She waited for a response and finally got a letter from Mother Theresa. It simply said, “I received your letter wanting to come to India. Thank you for wanting to come, but go and find your own Calcutta.”