Mercy IV

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Mercy IV.

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Mercy IV

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Have you ever wondered what it means for the people of God to be granted the honor of being “priests” of our God and Father (Revelation 1.6)? Probably not because we rarely hear ourselves referring to one another as priests – but we are. Just like every believer is a saint (Romans 1.7), so it is that every believer is a priest. What are the implications of this role? This “gift” (Romans 12.8)? Enter mercy.

Put simply the role of the priest in the Old Testament was to act as a conduit of fellowship between God and His people. When you combine this role with our definition of mercy – an active response to the plight of another – you see that mercy is a “greater gift” (1 Corinthians 12.31) as it empowers the believer to respond to his needy brother/sister with the compassion of God and points them to the one that would bring their healing. Thus the gift of mercy is exercised and the role of priest is on display, accessing the greater mercies of God! Again, mercy seen in the life of a believer most reflects in us the character of God.

Mercy III

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“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5.7).

Mercy is the deep emotion triggered within us when we see the plight of those around us; the infirmity of their sin tangled around their necks. But it is not an emotion that lies dormant. It manifests itself in doing something about that condition. It is a “powerful pity” that seeks to bring remedy. Sometimes mercy is in the form of understanding and a tear shared. At other times it is found in giving direction and guidance to the one trapped – me and you. Mercy must never be understood to be passive or permissive. Sometimes the most merciful thing I can do is “shoot straight” with a friend who is trapped in a particular pattern of behavior and point him in a new way. 

Mercy is often confused with “grace”. It is actually more closely related to “compassion”. In the case of God it was His mercy-compassion that paved the way for Him to extend grace to us. His deep mercies drew Him to redeem us; to pay the price of our sin. With sin out of the way He now gives us grace and “favor”; the favor of an intimate union with Himself – the Creator God of all mercy. So … “Blessed are the compassionate for they shall receive compassion.”

Mercy II:

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“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5.7)

“Merciful” adds an expanded word picture to me. I see a person so filled with mercy that they are ready to burst forth in extending it. This infers that it only takes a little poke – a little offense before mercy pours out of the one offended. Mercy is not reserved for the big personal transgressions – though it is needed there as well. One who is receiving the blessing of being merciful is ready to extend it even in the most incidental, quirky and otherwise irritating habits of those surrounding them.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5.7)

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“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5.7)

When we consider the magnitude of all the self-centered mayhem we create in our lives, it leaves no doubt that one of our greatest daily needs is an outpouring of mercy – both received and given. The power and the freedom that comes in the expressions of mercy are unequaled; so much so that Jesus again calls forth a blessing, a richness to those who practice it. As water satisfies the throat, so mercy gratifies the soul.

Yet where is this much needed gift? Where do we find it, refine it and display it as a fine piece of art? We find it in the mercies of God. Mercy is indeed a central identifying marker in the character of God Himself; and when we employ it is when we most reflect His character. Imagine it. Through Christ we have received abundant mercy and are now called to extend it to those near us. For those who have been forgiven much are now tuned to extend it.