We are continuing in our walk through the Beatitudes here on the blog. This week we come to verse 7, which reads:
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
When the Merciful Don’t Receive Mercy
As we are seeing in our #Unexpected series on Sunday mornings, many of the things Jesus says in His Sermon on the Mount are a bit unexpected. But to me, verse 7 isn’t all that strange. It seems logical that if you give mercy, you’ll receive mercy.
This past Monday night, I had the chance to hear a pastor from Minnesota share about what he has learned in his 30 years of pastoral ministry. He had some encouraging stories, but he also had some sad stories. Such as the guy who recently ripped him to shreds in a letter for using a different Bible translation than the one this guy preferred. The pastor shared how he has given nothing but mercy and kindness to this guy, and yet he gets told that he has failed as a pastor and should be removed from the pastorate for not using the “correct” translation.
Maybe you’ve experienced something like that. You showed extreme kindness to someone only to have them treat you like trash. You showed mercy – but you didn’t get mercy in return.
So was Jesus wrong?
Mercy for the Long Term
Paul says in Galatians 6:7 that you will reap what you sow. Just as a farmer who sows corn will reap corn, a person who sows discord will reap discord, or a person who sows mercy will receive mercy.
But just as a farmer has to wait for his corn seed to beget corn, sometimes we have to wait to receive mercy. Sometimes, we will sow mercy, bestowing it on others, and we may not see an immediate return. The other person might take advantage of our mercy or just not appreciate our kindness.That is why we shouldn’t be looking for mercy from others. Rather, we should be looking to the mercy that God offers through the cross. The fact that Jesus-followers get heaven despite their sin is evidence of God’s lavish mercy. The fact that Jesus’s followers receive the Holy Spirit despite their rebellious hearts is evidence of God’s extravagant mercy. The fact that we receive such love from God despite the fact that we can’t earn God’s love is evidence of God’s amazing mercy.
So if you want to receive mercy, give mercy. But realize, that you may not receive mercy from those upon whom you bestow mercy. Rather, you have already received mercy from God. And THAT’S why we can give mercy to others.
(By the way, the pastor who shared about getting ripped to shreds in that letter about Bible translations went on to share how the guy who wrote the letter had a tragic event happen two days after he sent the letter to the pastor. And who was the first person he called? You got it: The pastor.)
So who do you need to give mercy to today?