Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Blessings of Mercy

Let’s begin with a riddle.  What is the one thing we desperately need from God, want other people to give us, but rarely like to give to others?  It is mercy.  Mercy is an amazing idea that means to withhold that which is deserved.  In our case with God, He has withheld the judgment that we deserved due to our regular rebellion against His truth and universal laws.  This mercy is only applicable for those people who are in Christ by genuine faith as Ephesians 2:4 says, “God, who is rich in mercy…made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”  It is not that God has removed His judgment upon this rebellion but that He has removed it from all those who believe in Christ and that He has placed their judgment upon Jesus.  We find this articulated in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He (God) made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us…” and 1 Peter 2:24, “who Himself(Jesus) bore our sins in His own body on the tree” and Isaiah 53:6, “the LORD laid on Him (Christ) the iniquity of us all.”  So the Bible states very clearly that God has provided what we desperately need from Him, namely mercy. 

We would also like for other people to be merciful to us.  We would like for them to withhold any judgment that we might deserve in the relationship.  Nobody likes to be criticized no matter how well deserved the criticism may be.  Not one spouse wishes the other would keep a list of every wrongdoing in their marriage, but rather we want the other to forgive and forget.  We want mercy.  A wise husband knows how to answer certain questions asked by his wife regarding her hair, weight, clothing, etc.  He better answer mercifully!  Imagine what life would be like if all the people you know inflicted vengeance upon you for all the wrongs you have done and for all the good you left undone.  Thank God for divine mercy and for the mercy which comes from others. 

Still another question must be asked for further reflection.  Why do we receive so much mercy from God and deeply want others to be merciful unto us but still withhold mercy from others?  Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).  There is a correlation between mercy received and mercy extended.  Those who have obtained mercy (from God) will be filled with mercy (toward others) and will therefore experience a state of blessedness.  Those who are filled with mercy (toward others) will obtain mercy (from God).  Clearly stated the point is, mercy received results in mercy extended.  It is this truth that allows us to lay down our right to punish or hurt others.  You have noticed that hurting people like to hurt others.  They must not realize how merciful God is to them.  The issue for a Christian is not whether or not we have the right to be angry or vengeful, but will we follow the example of our God who is rich in mercy and therefore enjoy true blessedness.  This is the blessing of mercy.

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