Blessed Are the Merciful
In Matthew 5:7, Jesus says, “Blessed be the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” The word “merciful” comes from the Greek word “eleēmōn” which means “compassionate.” Another definition for the word “compassionate” which would also apply to the term “merciful” is “sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. In today’s society, many people do not want to show sympathy toward others who are in less favorable circumstances than they are. Many people prefer to be self-centered and unmerciful toward others. Is this how we are supposed to be as Christians?
As Christians, we are to work to be so much like Christ that others will see more of Christ in us than they see ourselves. Christ tells us in Matthew 5:7 that we are to show mercy towards others so that we will obtain mercy from God the Father. Luke also speaks about the need to show mercy when he says in Chapter 6 and verse 36; “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” The apostle Paul speaks against those who do not show mercy in Romans 1:28-32: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
What are some examples of how we can be merciful, or show sympathy and compassion towards others? One way is to help widows and orphans, which the Bible commands us to do; “If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.”(I Timothy 5:16). This verse is referring to the need for men and women to take care of their widowed parents, and/or grandparents, and to not leave them to the church to provide for because widowed men and women who have children or grandchildren to help them are not widows indeed. Widows indeed as mentioned in I Timothy 5:16 are those who do not have any children or grandchildren to provide financial and physical support for them. Another verse that stresses the importance of caring for widows and orphans is the following; “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27).
Other ways that we can be merciful towards others is to forgive those who have wronged us and who have asked for our forgiveness. “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him” (Luke 17:3). We can also help those who are in need of food, clothing, and shelter. “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” (Matthew 5:42). “Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:37-40). Other ways we can be merciful is to take people who do not have a means of transportation to worship services, Bible studies, or simply to run errands. There are many ways that we can show mercy towards others. We should do as many acts of mercy as we can, so that we are abounding in good works as we are commanded to do in II Peter 1:5-8: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This world needs more mercy in it. We need to be sure to show mercy towards others in this life so that God will show mercy to us when we die and when the day of Judgment comes. No one can earn the reward of Heaven, no matter how many good works they do in this life. It is only through the Grace and Mercy of God that we can have a hope of Heaven if we are faithful. Let us be like our Father. We are told of Him, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-7). May we work every day to show mercy in all aspects of our life, just as God shows mercy toward us!
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