Lord Have Mercy

Lord Have Mercy.png

Lord, Have Mercy

 

It’s a southern thang. We often exclaim, “Lord, have mercy!”. We say it when we are exasperated or frustrated over a situation not really giving thought to what we are muttering or maybe even shouting. But mercy should not be taken lightly; it is a really big deal. Maybe today we should press pause on our crazy busyness and simply sit still and think about mercy and its implication in our lives. 

 

If you have been following along, you know we are going through The Beatitudes. They are rich with instruction of who it is we are to become. Can you imagine sitting on that mountainside and listening to Jesus share with you this new way of life if you love Him and believe in Him? Today, we are looking at Matthew 5:7. Here is what is says…

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

 

To understand the meaning and the magnitude of this verse, we need to first understand what mercy is. Let’s start by just reading the definition. The dictionary says that mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. Can we be merciful? Can we offer mercy to others or it is just something we can receive? Do we have the power to punish or harm? Of course, we do. We can harm people with our words, with our gossip and with our withdrawal of love and friendship. Every day we have the choice to show or not show mercy and love to others. Need a few examples? Just think about our response to traffic, our spouse, our children, people who hurt us or disappoint us or betray us. Stop and ask yourself, “Am I merciful?”

 

What does mercy look like? Mercy looks like Jesus. Wow! That feels like more than we could ever do or be, doesn’t it? Why would Jesus say, “Blessed are the merciful” when He knows how messed up we are and as He was speaking He was fully aware that He was about to bear our sin? Well, because He is mercy. But, don’t get mercy confused with grace, they are similar, but yet they are different. Mercy is God not punishing us although it is deserved. Mercy is God delivering us from judgment. Grace is God blessing us and offering us salvation although we in no way deserve it and certainly have not earned it. 

 

So, how can we show mercy?

We are merciful when we choose to not be easily offended.

We are merciful when we do not judge others, but choose to pray for them instead.

We are merciful when we realize that we are all broken and but for the grace of God we might be in a similar situation as those we want to judge, but instead we offer empathy.

 

As we learn to choose to be merciful, we must stop and offer thanksgiving for the mercy that has been shown to us. Although we deserve hell, we have been extended the great gift of mercy. This passage explains it much better than I can:

“For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:3-6

 

(Ooh! Are you feeling convicted because that says we “were once”, but yet to be honest we still are? We aren’t supposed to look and live like the world. We are supposed to be set apart. We need to work on that – study the word a little more, spend more time in prayer and hang out with those who inspire us to do those things.) 

 

Blessed are the merciful. How do we become merciful? We lay ourselves down – our feelings, our opinions, our assumptions, our expectations and instead we ask God to help us. You see, we can only become merciful in His strength. We cannot rely on ourselves, but we can surely rely fully upon Him. We need His help to put Jesus first in our lives. We need His help to surrender our selfish ways and instead seek to become more like Jesus. We need His help to choose to show mercy in place of showing judgment, condemnation and arrogance.

 

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

 

Today is a time of need. Today we need His help and intervention to become merciful people. We need His help to remove our blinders and instead overwhelm us with gratitude for the mercy we do not deserve - yet have been shown.

We need each other. Let’s love one another and pray for one another. Deal?


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Pam PegramComment