The Art of Mercy


“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”                            Matthew 5:7

I woke this morning and the first thing that popped into my head was a phrase that caught me a bit off guard.  It was very profound and I have been pondering it all morning: THE ART OF MERCY.

I have so many things moving their way through my mind about this simple phrase, but I really want to be short and sweet.

Mercy is a BEAUTIFUL thing.  In the Greek mercy is Eleemon which means to aid the afflicted; help the wretched; rescue the miserable.  This is giving kindness to someone in need and it can also be withholding punishment from someone.

By the sacrifice on the Cross we were given mercy, punishment withheld.  This was kindness shown to an undeserving person….ME!!!  Mercy will be shown to those who show mercy, shall I repeat that?  Mercy is shown to those who show mercy.  Go back up to that definition of mercy and read again…this is no easy task, we are human and we want justice where we see fit.  Guess what?  We no longer live under the law, we are forgiven, we should begin to live as if we are forgiven and allow that for others.

The art of mercy is a beautiful thing, when we are shown mercy, we tend to give mercy, then we get mercy, then we give mercy.  This is a beautiful cycle.  I spent many years unable to receive mercy, so guess what?  Oh man for those of you who have known me for a long time….I WAS MERCILESS!!!!  Here’s a quick little check for those who struggle with mercy, both giving and receiving.  There is a great study on the Beatitudes by a pastor by the name of…..I can’t remember.  Not can I find it on google, but I will find it for you guys.  It’s amazing.

Two kinds of people who have trouble with mercy:

1. Self-Righteous People:

Mercy is wasted on these people.  They don’t give mercy, because anything they get, they deserved.  They got mercy, but they deserved it.  They talk about grace and mercy but deep in them there is never the sense of breathless gratitude for grace.  Grace is good, it should bowl us over.  The story of the man whose debt was forgiven but then went after the man who owed him money is the perfect example of this.  There was no brokenness, he came after the other man.  The man’s only hope is the land owner, he’s waiting for the ride, waiting for the debt to be paid they should come up GRATEFUL…this man did not!!!  They have a brand of mercy: it has strings and if they extend mercy, they must be paid back.  They are merciful and then we are waiting.  They keep track and it’s waiting for the response.  It’s controlling and has nothing to do with mercy and it’s about them being paid back.  Our mercy MUST come from brokenness.  It’s not a keeping of score.

2. Shame Based People:

These people think that they need to deserve it.  They are convinced that they don’t deserve it.  The cross comes in..but they can’t let it in because they have a belief system that they have to deserve it.  THEY DON’T DESERVE IT.  The shame based have to believe they deserve it, they never do.  They never feel clean and whole.  Judas was a man like this, he denied and betrayed Jesus did he do the most heinous sin in the world.  What would have happened if he had come for forgiveness?  He tried to give the money back.  He felt the conviction, he knew what he did.  He went and hung himself.  We sin and can’t undo some of them, we can’t pay it back.  Mercy must be received.  I CAN’T, but you MUST move towards GRACE.  Some people get to the I CAN’T and pay and pay and pay but we must believe that we cannot pay the debt, but that the mercy really is extended and then the letting it in, they will then be able to extend mercy.  They have a hard time accepting gifts and compliments, they can’t accept them because they feel they need to deserve it, or pay it back.  NEEDED MERCY, MERCY CAME, AND THEN OVERJOYED BY FORGIVENESS.  People get weird about the joy of being forgiven and given grace.  WE ARE GRATEFUL when it comes.

Well that was not very short and sweet but felt I should continue.  There is a beauty in receiving and giving mercy.  Mercy changed my life, let it change yours.


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