The Way Of The Merciful

April 17, 2017

The Way of the Merciful

Matthew 5:7 says, Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

Merciful people can’t see people hurting, or in a predicament, without wanting to help them. The good Samaritan, in Luke 10:30-37, is a good example of a merciful person. “And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”

If we follow the golden rule in Matthew 7:12 we can’t help but be merciful. “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Jesus said that by doing this we will fulfill all that the law and the prophets demand of us.

It is our selfish nature that gets in our way and hinders us from being merciful. When we see someone with a need, Satan is quick to put in our minds a reason for not helping them. The following are some of the first excuses that come into our mind:

* “I’m too busy.

* “I don’t have time.”

* “I can’t afford to.”

* “He is no friend of mine.”

* “Let someone else help them.”

To be merciful nearly always demands a sacrifice. The two most common sacrifices are time and money. When David sent some of his men to Nabal to ask him to be merciful to him and his people he responded by saying “Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?” (I Samuel 25:11) He was a rich man. It wouldn’t have been any sacrifice for him to share some with David, but his selfish nature hindered him.

To be merciful also includes thinking of the well being of others. Maybe they aren’t hurting or in distress, but we need to ask ourselves “Are my actions placing a burden on others?” It may be that you have a habit of leaving your things scattered around the house for someone else to pick up and put away. Maybe you have a dog that barks at night and hinders your neighbors from sleeping.

Our duty to be merciful is clearly taught in the Bible. The words mercy or merciful are scattered throughout the Bible all the way from Genesis to Jude. We bring shame and disgrace upon God if we aren’t merciful.

Merciful people find satisfaction in helping others. They look for ways to show mercy. They are quick to share with others. When I was a boy growing up on the farm we had a neighbor who had a blade on the front of his tractor. He knew we didn’t have a blade on our tractor. After a snow storm he often came and plowed out the road into our house. We didn’t ask him to do do it. He just did it. There is a satisfaction that comes from being able to do for others what they can’t do for themselves.

To be merciful is to be godlike. God is rich in mercy. Ephesians 2:4-5 says “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;)” There is no greater example of mercy than that which has been shown by God. It was the love and mercy of God that moved him to give his Son. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It was the mercy of Jesus Christ that moved him to give his life as a sacrifice for us. Titus 3:5 says “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

God promises to pour out his blessing on the merciful. Our text from the beatitudes says “They shall obtain mercy.” If we have been merciful to others, God will see to it that we obtain mercy when we need it. Many times we don’t receive mercy from those to whom we have shown mercy. Maybe we will, but if not, God will send others across our path to show mercy to us when we are in need of it.

The most difficult assignment regarding being merciful is no doubt the teaching in Romans 12:20. “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” The coals of fire means that we make them ashamed of themselves. If we know that someone hates us it is extremely easy to say, “Why should I show mercy to him or her?” The good Samaritan showed mercy to a Jew. John 4:9 says “For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” No doubt this Samaritan was aware of that, but Luke 10:33-34 tells us what he did for this Jew when he found him in misery. (See these verses at the beginning of this article.) He didn’t stop there. He left the innkeeper with money to take care of him.

It is our duty to be merciful, not just to those from whom we have good reason to think that they would be merciful to us. It is from the Lord that we shall obtain mercy. That takes faith plus sacrifice. Be merciful and claim the promise of Luke 6:38. “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” God may use you to be merciful to others who have been merciful to others who have been merciful to others.


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