"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy." -Matthew 5:7 (NRSV)
"If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead." -James 2:16-17 (NRSV)
"What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." -Micah 6:8 (NRSV)
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In Christ, we are caught in a middle point of mercy's touch; between the mercy received and mercy yet needed.
Though we experienced the fullest sense of mercy because of our Saviors cross, we are still in daily need for more. In fact, mercy is the extension of raw compassion towards anyone - not based on what that person has done (or not done), but fully based on who the giver of mercy is.
We received the mercy of our salvation, not because of who we are, but because our God is a God of compassion, grace, and love. And everyday, we need this gift again and again; we need mercy to bless us with peace; passion; pursuits; and joy.
Mercy is what overlooks our failures. It is what takes ownership of being compassionate towards our pain; what continually picks up the broken pieces of our hearts; what remains faithfully present even though we fight to run away; and mercy is what extends patience and forgiveness to our wavering minds.
But there is something important to note about mercy... It cannot be extended from someone who does not have it - AND an individual will never experience the growing glory of mercy without continually extending it to others.
So when Jesus says "blessed are the merciful," it is important to realize that only those connected to Him can be merciful. They (WE) have already received the eternal life that He has spoken of time and time again.
And this blessed life is "blessed" - that is, happy, joyful, and worth it - because the blessed person extends the mercy they have already received to others. And when someone gives mercy (as Jesus says), they get to experience it more and more.
In fact, this is what it means to have an active and growing faith in Jesus; to extend the life we have been given to others. As James writes, when we interact with the world we will become aware of their needs. And when we have awareness, our faith should spur us towards action. If not, then what faith do we really have?
In speaking ofthis principle, the apostle John talks about the person who sees a need yet lets it pass them by. He writes that the person is "closing their heart" towards another (1 John 3:17). And a closed heart will never display God's real love.
It makes me think... How often do I waver in my faithfulness towards another and slowly begin "closing my heart?" How often does my fixed gaze and quick pace signify a "closed heart" towards those around me? How often do I respond to failure or immaturity with a "closed heart?" How often do my biases and judgements "close my heart" toward someone different? Or how often do respond with a "closed heart" towards those the world calls "ugly," "unneeded," "unwanted," or "worthless?"
Being in-between mercy's touch demands us to always interact in mercy; to love mercy; and to give it freely to others. Just like Christ, we are to see beyond the shell of humanity. We are called to overcome barriers and live with bold compassion towards all.
And ultimately, this is how we uncover the vast layers of Christ's mercy towards our own hearts.
But today, my questions are simple: Who around you needs the mercy that you have already been given? Who is the person that you need to show mercy to in the form of patience? Who do you need to not give up on? And where do you need to be more aware?
May we love mercy today. Thank you for the read! We would love your help sharing it with others. You can use the tabs (or image) below to do just that! Have a great day.
Greg, Declare Glory