Summary: Mercy, what was it Jesus said Blessed are the merciful for they wll be shown mercy. This is by no means the final word on the subject but an introduction into what mercy and being merciful is about.
Beatitude – Oh Yeah the blessing of being merciful!
James Bond, there’s something about James Bond, not that he’s got the same surname as our general, but that he’s a spy, that he is a man of intrigue and wonder, the British secret service, licence to kill, Austen Martins that drop oil and fire rockets, and fly, Bond James Bond. What other spy movies or spies can you think of? Jason Bourne, Salt?
The truth is though that spies exist in real life, There’s a story about two Russian spies a couple who were tried in the United States of America in 1953,
Judge Kaufman presided at the trial of the Russian spies, the Rosenbergs. They were charged with and convicted of treason against the United States and sentenced to death.
In his summation at the end of the long and bitter trial, the lawyer for the Rosenbergs said animatedly, “Your Honor, what my clients ask for is justice.”
Judge Kaufman replied calmly, “The court has given what you ask for—justice! What you really want is mercy. But that is something this court has no right to give.”
In the Rossenbergs case justice was a separate as it possibly could be from mercy, how do you see justice and mercy?
Are they separate or one thing that goes hand in hand with the other?
The knowledge that we have of God is that he is a God of both Justice and Mercy. We have a depiction of God as he appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai, that reads like this,
“Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him (Moses) and proclaimed his name, the LORD.
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love towards thousands, and forgiving the wickedness and rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation’”. (Exodus 34:6-7).
So we have this description of God from his own lips as one who is loving and faithful, who is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, who forgives wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet on those who are not willing to repent from their wickedness, rebellion and sin is also one who will bring punishment not just on the sinner but on generations to come to the third and fourth generations.
Now if you’re anything like me and you may be; you’re probably thinking that’s a bit rough, the sins of my Great Grandfather may affect the way my life is turning out. Well it’s true, one generation’s life style, one generations sin will affect the next and on, this is called a generational curse. Often we see the results of sin of a grandparent working its way through a family until a member of that family comes to Christ and the curse is broken.
The thing to remember though is that God is just and he is merciful, one passage in Psalm 103 states it this way; “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him…” (Verses 12-13) The King James version uses the words “Like as a father pitieth his children, So the LORD pitieth them that fear him.” The reason I used this passage is that both compassion and pity are components of mercy.
Jesus words of blessing the beatitudes also talk of mercy.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated, “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
So the merciful what do they look like, what do the merciful do?
1) “Merciful” embraces the characteristics of being generous, forgiving others, having compassion for the suffering, and providing healing of every kind. (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Mt 5:7). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc)
Now to me this sounds very much like a description of Jesus, he was generous he brought life to those lost in their sins, he forgave others, I always think of Peter and how even after he denied Jesus three times, Jesus forgave him. Jesus had compassion for the suffering and provided healing of every kind. Those that others in his society would treat as outcasts Jesus healed and made whole, the sinful woman, the leaper, the paralytic, the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, the Roman, The Samaritan. Those who were outcast from that society or in some way were isolated and looked down on in society, Jesus treated with compassion and mercy, he was merciful.