are the merciful:
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Matthew 5:7 is another popular Bible verse from Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount. This is such a simple statement, but it has a profound and deep-reaching meaning.
The Greek meaning of “merciful” in Matthew 5:7 is: compassionate, which the dictionary defines as: feeling pity or sympathetic. We see people pour out mercy and compassion upon those who have experienced tragedy or misfortune. Compassion is basically the desire to help, combined with feelings of sympathy.
It is unfortunate that it takes something dramatic to stir up these feelings in our hearts toward those we don’t know, when we live life every day right beside those who are silently hurting; but because we are ignorant of their pain, we have indifference (lack of interest or feeling) in our hearts and attitudes toward them.
Matthew 5:7 says that those who are merciful will obtain mercy. We all desperately need the mercy of God, as individuals and as nations.
I have personally struggled with an indifferent and callous attitude in my heart toward others. When I began to feel constrained in my work and ministry because of this, I sought the Lord for help. He quickly pointed me to Isaiah 63:15 (ESV).
down from heaven and see,
from your holy and beautiful habitation.
Where are your zeal and your might?
The stirring of your inner parts and your compassion
are held back from me.
Though this passage is a prayer to God for His mercy toward Israel, understanding came to me like a laser beam that I lacked compassion. My heart had become hardened.
I immediately began to pray that God would fill my heart with compassion and a genuine love for people. He was faithful, as He always is, to respond to that request. Let me give you an example.
I can remember one day getting some bad news about my Dad’s health. It greatly concerned me because I love my Dad with all my heart. I fell on my knees with a fervent and heartfelt prayer of love and mercy for him.
Then I specifically remember another time I was praying for someone that didn’t hold a special place in my heart (like my Dad). God very distinctly told me to pray for this person like it was my Dad…with fervency. I obeyed.
Praise God, He faithfully and gratefully answered my prayer about my Dad’s health. Was it because I prayed with fervency about this other person? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know His instruction helped me find compassion in my heart, so I could pray with fervency.
James 5:16 says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
That is exactly what Jesus Christ displayed upon the cross—great fervency. We are to follow His example.
Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
Mercy begets more mercy. Love invested is love returned. What we measure out is measured back to us (Matthew 7:2). What would the world look like if we all prayed for our enemies as fervently as we pray for those we deeply love?
I’m convinced that every conflict and pressure point we have with other people is an exercise and opportunity for us to offer the sacrifice of mercy and forgiveness.
Nothing gets the attention of God quicker than our sacrifice of mercy—to pray for someone who hurt us or for someone who offends us. That’s when we most closely resemble the beauty of His Son.
I challenge you to try it, and see if God's mercy isn't poured out in your own life.
All of our conflicts are meant to direct us into the loving, open arms of Jesus Christ on the cross. As offensive and heinous as our sin crimes were, Jesus accepted us anyway. He dove right into the cesspool of our filthy sin and rescued us from the torturous wrath of God. Jesus shielded us from the penalty of sin with His Own body and soul.
We stand behind that protection, that covering—of the cross. Can we not offer that same mercy to others, as He commanded? As Disciples of Christ, we are to follow His lead.
Remember the cross. Forgive as you have been forgiven.
Study the Bible verse of Matthew 5:7, exercise mercy toward others, and enjoy the fruit of God’s mercy and favor upon you.
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