Summary: Many Christians are not happy because they are missing this one beatitude in their life.
Imagine if you would a fork in the road. To the right the road is named “Merciful Avenue” and it leads to happiness. To the left the road is named “Cruelty Avenue” and it leads to misery.
Illustration: Happiness - A fascinating study on the principle of the Golden Rule was conducted by Bernard Rimland, director of the Institute for Child Behavior Research. Rimland found that "The happiest people are those who help others." Each person involved in the study was asked to list ten people he knew best and to label them as happy or not happy. Then they were to go through the list again and label each one as selfish or unselfish, using the following definition of selfishness: a stable tendency to devote one’s time and resources to one’s own interests and welfare--an unwillingness to inconvenience one’s self for others." (Rimland, ’The Altruism Paradox,’ Psychological Reports 51 : 521) In categorizing the results, Rimland found that all of the people labeled happy were also labeled unselfish. He wrote that those "whose activities are devoted to bringing themselves happiness...are far less likely to be happy than those whose efforts are devoted to making others happy" Rimland concluded: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Ibid, p. 522).
Martin & Diedre Bobgan, How To Counsel From Scripture, Moody Press, 1985, p. 123.
The following series of advertisements reportedly appeared in a daily newspaper:
Monday: "The Rev. A.J. Jones has one color TV set for sale. Telephone 626-1313 after 7 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Donnelley who lives with him, cheap."
Tuesday: "We regret any embarrassment caused to Rev. Jones by a typographical error in yesterday’s paper. The ad should have read: ’The Rev. A.J. Jones has one color TV set for sale, cheap...Telephone 626-1313 and ask for Mrs. Donnelley, who lives with him after 7 p.m.’"
Wednesday: "The Rev. A.J. Jones informs us that he has received several annoying telephone calls because of an incorrect ad in yesterday’s paper. It should have read: ’The Rev. A.J. Jones has one color TV set for sale, cheap. Telephone 626-1313 after 7 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Donnelley who loves with him.’"
Thursday: "Please take notice that I, the Rev. A.J. Jones, have no color TV set for sale; I have smashed it. Don’t call 626-1313 anymore. I have not been carrying on with Mrs. Donnelley. She was, until yesterday, my housekeeper.’"
Friday: "Wanted: a housekeeper. Usual housekeeping duties. Good pay. Love in, Rev. A.J. Jones. Telephone 626- 1313.’"
Mistakes are inevitable in the publishing business.
First United Methodist Church, Meadville, PA, Content The Newsletter Newsletter, August, 1990, p. 3.
Sometimes our mistakes and misfortunes cause unwanted pain and heartache between us and those we associate with on a regular basis. Weather they be co-workers, fellow church members, or our family. Although our intentions may be good, sometimes the outcome of our actions is bad. We as believers must be a people of mercy. God is not as concerned with the actions of our hands as He is with the intentions of our hearts. If we as Christians truly believe this, then why do we get angry with people who unintentionally hurt or offend us?
Illustration: A "do it yourself" catalog firm received the following letter from one of its customers: "I built a birdhouse according to your stupid plans, and not only is it much too big, it keeps blowing out of the tree. Signed, Unhappy. The firm replied: "Dear Unhappy, We’re sorry about the mix-up. We accidentally sent you a sailboat blueprint. But if you think you are unhappy, you should read the letter from the guy who came in last in the yacht club regatta."
Just as Jesus was love incarnate, He was mercy incarnate. He wept with the sorrowing and gave companionship to the lonely. He took little children into His arms and blessed them. The ultimate outcome of His mercy was the cross. In Jesus’ crucifixion, two merciless systems – merciless government and merciless religion – united to kill Him. Totalitarian Rome joined intolerant Judaism to destroy the Prince of mercy.
The fifth beatitude does not teach that mercy to men brings mercy from men, but that mercy to men brings mercy from God.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matt 6:14-15
This is not a requirement for the forgiveness of God, but a warning against the perpetual sin of holding a grudge. When someone hurts you the fire of anger and resentment flame up in your heart. And you are left with a decision. Do you put out the fire, or do you let it get even hotter? Do you release it, or do you resent it? Do you let your hurts heal, or do you let your hurts turn into hate?