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7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. NIV New International Version
7You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for. MSG The Message Bible
7Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous--with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy! AMP The Amplified Bible
7God blesses those people who are merciful. They will be treated with mercy! CEV Contemporary English Version
7Happy the kind -- because they shall find kindness. YLT Young's Literal Translation
7Those who show lovingkindness are happy, because they will have lovingkindness shown to them. NLV New Life Version
7God makes happy those who are kind. He will be kind to them. WE Worldwide English (New Testament)
Happy are the merciful, for they will have mercy shown to them!
J. B. Phillips Translation
7 O the bliss of those who treat others with mercy, for they shall be treated with mercy. Translation by William Barclay
People who really care will find love wherever they go.
Source not known to me
Mercy is active compassion, based on justice, guided by understanding, illuminated by love and restrained by forbearance.
Finally a beatitude I think I do reasonably well. This just could be my favorite because I feel some degree of success! I think I am merciful. I tell people I am normally a polite driver, because I am understanding of the shortcomings of other drivers. I understand those stupid things people do when behind the wheel of their cars because I do stupid things too! I am patient with people who forget to use their turn signals, or cut in just in front of me. It doesn't upset me when drivers are slow to go when the light turns green, or when they get in the wrong lane and have to hold up traffic in order to correct their mistake. Sometimes I don't have my mind on my driving either; therefore I know how all these irritating things can happen.
I understand; therefore I am kind. When I make mistakes, I appreciate patience; therefore I forgive and am patient with others. I suppose you could say that I try to treat people the way I would like them to treat me.
What does all this have to do with mercy? A lot really. Mercy means giving someone better than they deserve. It's an attitude of not being hard on others. Mercy is like a gentle rain; it softens the ground so that not only weeds can germinate there, but good stuff can take root also.
An Old Testament prophet answered his own question when he said in Micah 6:8, "What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
Micah put justice first. Justice means to treat people fairly and make sure that everyone has whatever they need. To act with justice requires an understanding of the other person's situation and life experience. It takes time and effort to really look at a person in order to be fair with them. Justice is a basic tenant of the Bible, right up there with righteousness, peace and love.
Jesus wants us to act justly in all our relationships. But then Jesus adds something more. Justice is the first mile; but don't stop there. Go the second mile and add mercy! Better yet, love to be merciful! It's not enough to only do what is right in relation to others; we are to treat them better than they deserve!
You may remember that Jesus had issues with the Pharisees, those good and responsible people who were the religious leaders of his day. Jesus liked to quote the Scripture passage to them wherein God stated, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." Then Jesus would tell those Pharisees,"Go and learn what that means." It seems they had failed in the faith because they did not know mercy.
So what does mercy mean? And why isn't justice enough? Again the yardstick is stretched so high that we feel inadequate. But don't give up. Jesus is a patient teacher. He will help us know the blessing and joy of showing mercy as we walk humbly with our God. That element of humility, or poverty of spirit, is closely related and necessary to the learning of mercy.
What are some words associated with mercy?--kindness, caring about another person, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, love, restraint, blessing, joy. These are good words, concepts we can live with. When we show mercy we live in the climate of creative love. Everyone is blest by mercy.
What are some words that describe the opposite of mercy?--revenge, retaliation, cruelty, resentment, vindictiveness, teasing, grudges,jealousy, a cold heart, merciless, payback time, hostility. When we show no mercy we live in a climate of death and condemnation. And no one is blest.
Mercy means that we treat another person better than they deserve. Why would we do this? Is it the natural thing to do? Are you routinely treated with mercy? If not, then where do we learn mercy?
We learn mercy from God whose grace is new and fresh every morning. As we receive God's mercies, we are inspired to give mercy. Jesus told a story, recorded in Matthew 18:23-35, that went something like this:
There was a man who owed his king a million dollars! But because he could not pay the debt, the king forgave it! Wow! Then the man went out from the king's presence, and he immediately came upon a fellow who owed him a few dollars. That fellow also was unable to pay. So what did the man do? Did he forgive the debt? He did not! Instead he had no patience with the fellow. He showed no mercy. He had the fellow who owed him a few dollars thrown into jail until he could pay! What followed was great indignation; everyone who heard about this grave injustice was outraged. They went to the king and told him all that had happened. And you can imagine the king's rage. The rest of the story is not pretty as the king gave the man the punishment he deserved. Jesus ended the story by saying, "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive you brother from your heart."
We deal out mercy because God has been merciful to us. God is generous with his forgiveness, mercy and grace. We need to do likewise. Forget "an eye for an eye." Resist those negative feelings that come with being wronged. Break the cycle. Take the initiative. Repay good for evil. Show mercy whenever you can to whomever you can. Compassion gives life to you, the giver, as well as to the receiver. Mercy heals. It liberates us from the need to project our own evil upon another person.
We have many opportunities to practice mercy in our daily living. We can stop looking for a weak target to take advantage of. We can be merciful in our judgments of other people--maximize the good, minimize the flaws. We can be merciful in our speech. Keep the tone positive, criticisms constructive, and when you gossip, at least be kind! Learn what to leave unsaid, and when to get in those encouraging and uplifting words which everyone needs.
Praise, like mercy, is powerful. Our son had a gem of a first grade teacher. She constantly praised her students and told them how good they were. In time many of those children started to believe it and behave accordingly! Which reminds me of two other things I learned when raising children. Never punish a child for telling the truth. And never tell your child that they are bad; you wouldn't want them to start believing that message!
Mercy needs to be given without thought of return. Jesus received no mercy when he was arrested, condemned to death and crucified. But that didn't stop him from showing mercy. Mercy is wrapped up in forgiveness and pardon. If you forgive, God will forgive you. As you are merciful, God will be merciful to you.
God understands us mercifully; Jesus said we will be blessed as we go and do likewise to others. This is a very specific, clear and simple precept. Do it and there will be no need to fear the judgment of God!
"Lord, have mercy."--That may be the most common prayer in the world. When in need, we long for God's mercy, grace and compassion. It's the prayer on our lips; it's the cry from the depth of our souls.
Just change those words around a little bit and you have a prayer which reflects the thought of this beatitude: "Kathleen, show mercy." Insert your own name and become a channel whereby God's mercy reaches those who need it. Mercy is like a gentle rain. It's a shower of blessing, an answer to someone's prayer.