“Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.”
Jesus calls us not only towards a new life but to a new nature as well. Our characters as the sons and daughters of God are to reflect the character of Jesus Himself. This will not be something that we achieve through our own efforts but through our openness to, and co-operation with, the Holy Spirit who is at work within us. The Beatitudes describe certain aspects of this character and the emphasis throughout is placed upon being rather than doing. In looking at them we can see where we are headed and also where we need to bring areas of our lives to God for His forgiveness, healing and help.
Where grace is associated with men in their sins mercy is associated with them in their misery – and desires to take some action to alleviate the suffering. Jesus story of the Good Samaritan turning aside to help a man who had been beaten and robbed is a good example. It also tells us that very often the suffering that God wants to address through us is right before us. This was certainly the case with Jesus Himself and He did not have to go looking for people who needed His help, comfort and healing. He had mercy on each and everyone who approached Him.
God’s mercy is both awe-inspiring and humbling. From His action in sending His Son to save us, to the death of Jesus on the Cross, to Jesus cry for mercy for those who crucified Him and to the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit, God has showered us with His love. As He has loved us so He calls us to love others. As He has had mercy on us so He wishes us to have mercy on others – not because they deserve it but because He loves them. Such is His association with them that Jesus could say,
“The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
The Commands of love that Jesus affirmed and to which He added the Beatitudes, the Fruit of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit together with the model of Jesus Himself remind us that we are not to be as the world is. We are, by our new natures, to be radically different – as different as a light shining in the darkness. It is this vision that tells us something about the aim and purpose of the Holy Spirit in our lives, both individually and collectively. We are not called just to do things for Jesus but to become people through whom His love and character are revealed.
“I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)
To whom can I show God’s love and mercy today?
Thank you Lord so much that You have had mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.