“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NASB)
What a powerful scripture! “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NASB). What is Jesus saying here? Blessed is the person who is compassionate and kind toward someone who has offended him/her. Jesus was so radical! Blessed is the person who is patient with his/her offender. Blessed is the person who refrains from lashing out at his/her offender, who refrains from taking revenge on his/her offender. Blessed is the person who tolerates his/her offender.
Wow! This goes against the grain of all that the world teaches us… I have to treat my enemy with compassion and pity… Mercy is benevolence – not only do I refrain from taking revenge, I must also show that person kindness! Brothers and sisters, do you want the Lord to give you mercy? Then you must give those who have harmed you mercy.
Jesus makes it clear – you wanna be blessed? You wanna receive mercy? Then you have to give it away first. Sometimes His math just doesn’t make any sense to us. I have to give if I want to get…
And what about justice? I don’t know about any of you, but my heart (which is desperately wicked, by the way) cries out for justice! Why should I show mercy to the very ones who have wounded me? Shouldn’t they get what they deserve?
And then I hear the Lord speak to me… “Do you want justice or vengeance?”
“Well aren’t they the same?” I question. Silence… OK – so I’ll look the definition up…
Vengeance – infliction of injury, harm, humiliation, or the like, on a person by another who has been harmed by that person…
Justice – the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness; the administering of deserved punishment or reward.
Hmmm… “Can I have both?” I ask only half-jokingly. Silence again… So He wants me to figure this out, and the truth is that I already know what I want. You see, I’ve been really horribly hurt – damaged by someone who was supposed to love me and protect me, and my flesh wants vengeance. My flesh wants that person to hurt at least as badly as I was hurt. My flesh wants that person to beg me for mercy…
“Did I make you beg Me for mercy?” I hear a voice speak to me. “Should I show you mercy or do you want justice? Or perhaps you would rather I seek vengeance against you?”
When I think about my life and all of the people I’ve hurt, whether wittingly or unwittingly, I shudder. When I think of the times in my life when I purposely rejected Jesus and went my own way, I feel a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. When I think about the justice I deserve or the vengeance I could receive, I am ashamed.
But still, I have to be honest with the Lord (I might as well be – He knows it all anyway!). “Lord, I don’t know how to me merciful, because my heart is cold… my heart has been broken… I can’t do it on my own. Will You help me?”
I don’t hear His voice this time, but I sense His presence, as He wraps His loving arms around me, cradling me as I cry, releasing all of the pain that’s been bottled up for so many years… And when every last tear is spent, something miraculous happens. I’m not hurt or angry anymore. As I feel Holy Spirit’s power coursing through my veins, I feel joy and peace. Even more amazing, the hatred and bitterness are gone, and I feel love for my perpetrator.
Now, I am able to show him not only mercy, but grace… “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NASB)… Thank You Lord!
Cheryl A. Showers