October 7th Matthew chapter 5 “blessed are the merciful”

Today we see the first effect of our new being.  by “being” I mean we are no longer just doing, but we are transformed into something else in Christ.  This fifth beatitude is the effect of the first one.  Due to being poor in spirit we are able to become merciful.  This type of mercy is no longer a forced mercy because we are commanded to have mercy; it is instead a mercy that has been engrafted into us by Jesus Christ as He has renewed us in Him after repentance.

I remember fighting with my little brother when we were younger.  I used to be able to whip him, I’m glad that I moved away because I believe that those days are over.  At any rate, I recall our mother making us say that we were “sorry” after an altercation.  It was a forced apology that was not meant, but forced on us.  We would, reluctantly say the dreaded words, but they meant nothing because we were not sorry at all. Fast forward a few years to when I was in my twenties.  There was a new pastor at my church who had walked into a divided, fighting congregation unbeknownst to him.  Of course the search committee failed to mention that to him when he arrived.  Being on one of these sides (kind of like the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s) I became angry at someone that he had allowed to become a deacon, because after all he was a “McCoy!”  I caused that pastor a great deal of stress as I told him how utterly foolish that he was.  Then, in selfish, sinful rage I told him that I was leaving the church.  This pastor did exactly what he should have done and simply said OK.  I couldn’t believe that he didn’t beg me to stay, but I now know that he was much better off with out me because I was in the way of promoting the Gospel.  As God, in the following couple of years, showed my how evil and wrong that I was I went to him to tell him how terribly sorry that I was.  I was so embarrassed of my actions and I felt so demoralized standing before him.  I was not looking to gain anything (other than forgiveness), no one was forcing me to go to him.  I was, instead completely broken over my sin and my actions.  I still think of those actions in horror as I now realize how I must have caused him such stress and many sleepless nights.  If he would have not forgiven me it may have been the end of me for it bothered me so badly.  This amazing man of grace later became the one who gave me the encouragement that I needed to accept the call to vocational ministry in my thirties.

The above story is a picture of someone who was truly regretful (greatly regretful) for their actions.  When a person comes to the realization of their sin, when forgiven, they have an attitude of mercy.  Grace for grace.  Due to the grace that has been shown the believer in Christ, grace will be reciprocated.  Those who are not full of grace have most likely never really experienced it.  Once again, if someone does not feel as though they have much to be forgiven, they do not treasure the grace of God.  Grace for grace is the empathy of the believer because we were once where the unhappy, angry one caught in his own sin was, but we have been forgiven.

Jesus gave us the parable about the debtors (Luke 7:36-50).  One debtor owed a great deal of money (500 denarii) and another owed a small amount (50 denarii).  The creditor forgave both men of their debts, so Jesus posed the question “which of these will love the master more?”  This parable sums up the concept of those who show mercy.  All of those who come to Christ in repentance realize the great debt that has been forgiven.  In turn they love the master and reciprocate grace.

 

Pastor Steve

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