Be Merciful

be56dc820fbbf195360744bf72aeda4f“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” Lamentations 3:22.

“For thou, Lord, [art] good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” Psalm 86:5.

“Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Luke 6:36.

God is merciful to us even though we do not deserve it including in providing a means for our salvation from our sins (Titus 3:4-5).  The Hebrew word for mercy is a comprehensive term that encompasses love, grace, mercy, goodness, forgiveness, truth, compassion, and faithfulness.  God’s mercy allows us to avoid his wrath even though we deserve it.  The Word of God assures us that God is ready to show mercy to those who boldly come before Him to obtain mercy and find grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

Mercy is a very important attribute for a Christian to pursue themselves, one of the moral principles underlying the law.  “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Mathew 23:23.  The blessing we have of God’s mercy should translate into us being merciful to others, even when they do us wrong, as this is God’s command.  In fact, like with forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15) we need to extend mercy to others to expect to receive mercy from God.  “For judgement is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy.” James 2:13.

Seeking justice is an important Christian aspect as well and there are times when it must be dispensed per God’s will.  Micah 6:8 reminds us what the God requires of us – to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly.  John Piper has said – “In upholding the claims of justice, we bear witness to the truth that God is a God of justice.  And in showing mercy we bear witness to the truth that God is a God of mercy.”  Mr. Piper gives the following examples in balancing mercy vs justice which are instructive:

     “A biblical parent will usually follow the wisdom that sparing the rod spoils the child (Proverbs 13:24; Ephesians 6:4).  But there will be times when a child’s fault will be forgiven without punishment to teach the meaning of mercy and woo the child to Christ.

     A biblical judge will usually be scrupulously just by impartially sentencing criminals according to the grievousness of their crimes (Romans 13:4).  But there will be times when he will dispense clemency for some greater good.

     A biblical employer will usually pay a fair wage and insist on good workmanship (2 Thessalonians 3:10).  But there will be times when he will pay more than a person’s work deserves, and go an extra mile, with a sick or aging or distressed or inadequately trained employee.

    And a biblical Deacon will call public sin in the church to account and exercise discipline and even exclusion from the fellowship (1 Corinthians 5:1–13), but will also remember the parable of the wheat and the tares that teaches patience with the imperfection of the church till the end of the age (Matthew 13:24–30).”

The beatitude calls on Christians to be merciful but not show mercy in every situation where God demands justice, many times for the person’s own good.  We need to walk close to God and pray for discernment in balancing justice vs mercy but always maintain a spirit of mercy in our hearts.

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