Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mercy for the Merciful

Chuckle: "If all the people who fall asleep in church were laid end-to-end they'd be much more comfortable."
Quote: “Who will not mercy unto others show, How can he mercy ever hope to have?” --Edmund Spenser

"Blessed (happy) are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy" (Matthew 5:7 NIV).
a politician was very angry after seeing the proofs of his portrait. He stormed back to the photographer with these angry words: "This picture does not do me justice!" The photographer replied, "Sir, with a face like yours, you don't need justice, you need mercy."
In view of our sin and unworthiness, I'm happy that God acts from mercy rather than justice. Aren't you? Today, let's think about two questions: How can I become merciful, and what will be the result in my life?
First: Remember your own need for God's mercy and forgiveness; and we should extend mercy to others. Paul reminds us to watch our own actions when we become aware of another who "is caught in sin" (Galatians 6:1) -- "or you may be tempted." When you find it hard to forgive someone who has wronged you, remember God's forgiveness to you. Then you will realize that what you are struggling to forgive pales in comparison to what God has forgiven.
Second: Get to know the person you are inclined to judge. Chances are you really don't know that person very well. "Prejudice" means "prejudging," or making an estimate of others without knowing the facts. We need to learn backgrounds, problems, and scars that may explain someone's actions. We haven't walked in their shoes.
Third: Allow Christ to show his mercy through you. Each of us must understand that we cannot do what God asks of us with our own strength, but only by the power of Christ's Spirit in us. ". . I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). Christ in you is your only hope of becoming a loving and merciful person. This concept takes us back to the promise of Jesus concerning the Holy Spirit: "The world cannot accept Him (Holy Spirit), because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for he lives with you and will be in you" (John 14:17).
What can I expect in return for being merciful? "For they shall be shown mercy" is the promise attached to this beatitude. The mercy that comes to those that show mercy includes:
Peace with yourself.  You are well on your way to a happy life when you allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse you of your unwillingness to forgive.  Mercy from others.  In many ways life is like a mirror.  It reflects what you put into it.  Unkindness usually brings unkindness.  Judgment brings judgment, but love produces love and mercy produces mercy.  Mercy from God.  Jesus said: "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive you" (Matthew 6:14-15). Therefore, the "merciful shall be shown mercy."
The world needs to see Christian love, mercy, and grace in action. Why not be merciful and show kindness to someone this week? You will be blessed and happy, and the recipient of your mercy will be happy as well!
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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