Summary: God blesses those who are merciful.
This morning we will be continuing our look at the "Be-Attitudes." These words of our Lord give us direction for being all that He would have us to be. Today we will be examining mercy as found in Matthew 5:7.
Matthew 5:7 (CEV)
God blesses those people who are merciful. They will be treated with mercy!
If God blesses those people who are merciful, we should probably get a good grasp on what mercy is. I am going to use a parable from Matthew 18 to illustrate mercy.
What is Mercy?
"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt."
Matthew 18:23-27 (NASB)
So what is mercy? There are some key points of mercy that come to light from this parable. First of all mercy is kindness undeserved. Mercy is not earned, but instead is freely given. Mercy is also forgiveness granted without reason. Forgiving even though the offending party has done nothing to deserve it. Finally mercy is a cancellation of debts owed. Mercy does not maintain records or hold liens. Mercy cancels debts in full.
Now that we know what mercy is, we need to addres the basis of mercy in our lives. For mercy to be a part of our lives, we must always be merciful. That means we should be showing mercy at all times, in all circumstances, to all people. That means mercy comes forth when you don’t feel like it, when it’s not convenient, and even towards people you don’t particularly like. Mercy is not just an action, but instead should be a way of life.
The greatest example of mercy we can follow was shown by Jesus. Take a look at Colossians 2:13-14:
You were dead, because you were sinful and were not God’s people. But God let Christ make you alive, when He forgave all our sins.
God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross.
Colossians 2:13-14 (CEV)
Think about this act of mercy. We owed a debt of sin that we could not pay. The price was no less than death itself. But Jesus had mercy upon you and me, He paid the price and God’s forgiveness was received. We were spiritually bankrupt, and undeserving, yet mercy was freely given.
Let’s take a few moments to look at the importance of being a merciful person. First of all those who are merciful will be rewarded for their unselfish acts. Look at what Proverbs 11:17 has to say:
Proverbs 11:17 (NASB)
The merciful man does himself good, But the cruel man does himself harm
Mercy comes from a humble spirit. The path to being merciful is the path that begins with humility. Mercy is concerned with the well being of others. When we place others first, mercy will naturally begin to take root and pour out of our lives.
It’s important that you understand the consequences of failing to show mercy to others. Those who don’t show mercy will be dealt with in a like manner – Matthew 18:28-35
But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ But he was unwilling to and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you? And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, ife each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.