DURING the REPENTANCE TRANSFORMATION, BE MERCIFUL, FOR THE MERCIFUL WILL OBTAIN MERCY
The prodigal thought that at the very most that he could only expect a stinted pardon, and a servant's fare. That is because his notions of forgiveness ranged no higher. The father runs, falls on his neck, kisses him, clothes him with the most sumptuous dress, and seats him at the table with the most royal provision. That is the difference between man's notions of pardon and Christ's. The father saw a repentant, shamed by his sin, son. He knew is son was truly repentant. God sees our hearts, the hearts of those who wrong us, and He knows in an instant their sincerity or lack of it.
When God forgives, He ceases to remember. He does not treat us as pardoned criminals, but makes us beloved sons. God then transforms us into perfect righteous ones, as though we have never sinned. If we cannot measure up in our forgiveness of others who wronged us, in that same manner, well, join the club. None of us can have that kind of forgiveness. It is a standard we try to meet, but we need be honest enough to say we fail, but as we grow in love more and more, we hope to get closer and closer to that.
Matthew 5:7 (KJV)
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
The ‘merciful’ refers to those who forgive the offenses of others. This is distinguished from tolerance of the wrongs of others, it is distinctive from giving license or allowance of doing the wrongs. Also it is not in accepting the payment to repay for wrongs. Mercy is giving of undeserved favor, non reimbursable grace to the one who has done another wrong. Mercy is measured by actions, forgiveness is measured by attitude.
When we are merciful, we are blessed by God. When God blesses us, one of the blessings is that He is merciful to us. He is forgiving, but His forgiveness is so far beyond ours, that we are not going to be able to match His. So, as we are merciful, and do good to those who have wronged us, He too does good things for us who do not deserve it. He knows our forgiveness cannot match His, so He requires that we be merciful.
Jesus likely spoke that verse of Matthew 5:7 (above) in Aramaic. It was translated into Greek by the apostles, to make it understandable to the Gentiles. Yet, the Aramaic/Hebrew word was ‘chesedh’. This word speaks of the ability to ‘get right inside another person, to see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and feel with their person their feelings.
That brings a ‘mercy’ upon them, that makes us begin to do, to help them for what they truly need. For now we understand their motivations, their fears, their hopes. It is a greater than simple sympathy, it is an empathy. It is much easier said than done.
As we leave ‘self-centeredness’, we learn an empathy, and a ‘merciful love’ for others. We are not to simply feel sorry for them, but extend in mercy the love to them. Actions, the ‘do good’ follow the merciful love we are being given.
The world is self-centered, and is not merciful, rather it is unmerciful. The Christ-like ones are to be merciful, and thereby continue in the mercy of the Lord to ourselves. The devil brought into existence the thing we call ‘sin’. Sin is devastating, it perverted a once perfect Lucifer into the evil, hateful ‘satan’ that we battle. A whole pre-adamite creation was destroyed due to that fall of satan. This devil then tempted Eve in the garden, as God was beginning the new creation. Adam and Eve sinned, and this whole adamite creation is now tainted, sick with sin.
The devil inspires many to hurt us, he plants seeds of mistrust, false charges are spawned by the devil in the minds of anyone with an open mind. The devils did that to those about Jesus in His first coming. The devils inspired some to beat Paul, to stone him once, to imprison him at least seven times. Those wrongs could have made Paul bitter, hateful, and vengeful. Yet, he interceded for them, he preached till chased out of town.
The love of God flowing through Paul made him able to continue on. He gave them mercy, and did good unto them. He demonstrated, as had Jesus, that doing good to this sinful world, doing good to those who abuse and speak all manner of evil against us, is still the way to keep love from God flowing into us. We can allow that love and mercy flow out from us, and as we do it, the mercy and good things come to us from God. Because we have been merciful, we will continue to have the flow of mercy into our lives.