September 20, 2009

The Beatitudes Part 4

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Matthew 5:7)

Like forgiveness, mercy is one of those things that if we're honest, we want and even expect people to show us unconditionally but then when it comes to us showing mercy to others, we like to hold onto it like we have the power to give or take. It becomes pretty clear throughout scripture that if we want to be shown mercy, showing mercy to others would definitely be in our favor. James 2:12-16, 1 John 3:16-18, Matthew 6:14.

I think the James passage gives an interesting perspective on showing mercy. So, what opportunities do you have to show someone mercy? Family, friends, co-worker, neighbor, stranger...? If you expect to receive mercy, can people expect to receive mercy from you?

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (Matthew 5:8)

First, I've got to ask what "pure in heart" means to you? Is it even possible? In the discussion about this Beatitude in our Sunday morning class someone brought up the thought of being "of one substance, not a mixture or contaminated." A pretty powerful description if you think about being one in will, purpose and desire with Christ and not allowing ourselves to be "contaminated" by other things.

Feel free to share any thoughts, questions or comments you might have on "Beatitudes Part 4".


Mary-Barbara said...

Mercy is about the golden rule. Treating others the way you would want to be treated. Giving people the benefit of the doubt, reaching out even when people aren't at their best and don't have a lot (if anyting)to offer in return.
I find that often I give mercy in one way or to one person but need mercy in a different way from someone else.

I do not think it is possible to be pure at heart. I've been reading Hebrews this week and in 4:12-16 it talks about the word of God cutting deep into my innermost thoughts and desires exposing me for what I really am. Gulp.

Thank God for his grace, that I can "cling to him and never stop trusting him." I am encouraged in Hebrews 6:10-12 that even though I do have a rather messy heart, God can still use me. I am not to be discouraged.

I was also encouraged as I read in 1 John 3:18-20 that in trying to love people "We will be confident when we stand before the Lord even if our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts and he knows everyting."

Matt Lipan said...

Mary-Barbara: thanks for the read and comment.

i like your point about "reaching out to others even when people aren't at their best" because that seems like each of us at one point or another. your point made me think about the relationship between mercy and grace...not sure what i think about it yet but it got me thinking.

the idea of a "pure heart" seems so distant to us and yet, like you mentioned, we can be encouraged because a) God is bigger than our hearts and b) He can and will use us even despite our impure hearts. a pretty humbling thought.

thanks for sharing some good thoughts and scripture passages.