The Merciful

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Matthew 5:7

Circle of Blame ©Susan Irene Fox

Circle of Blame
©Susan Irene Fox

 

I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Matthew 12:7, Hosea 6:6

The context of this Scripture is contained at a time when Jesus reminds the Pharisees it is not the letter of the law that matters so much as steadfast love and caring for those who sin. The commentary on the verse in Hosea says God wants those who sin to love Him and know Him, not simply to change their behavior.

God desires a deeper relationship than accusation or conversion will ever bring us. This is why grace and mercy are so essential to the gospel.

Too often we look outside the church, not recognizing the enemy is doing a great job in our midst because we refuse to look at ourselves. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22)

Of course, as we look to our brothers and sisters, the tendency toward gossip, tongue clicking and sideways glances is almost as natural as breathing. (“Did you hear about him? Why is she wearing that? When will they stop ___________?”)

How often, when we hear a sermon, do we think of ourselves first? Come on, admit it; how many of us immediately think of someone else when our pastor speaks of sin?

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:12-13

James refers not to Old Testament law, which Christ fulfilled, but New Covenant law, which Jesus gave us. This new law the Holy Spirit writes upon our hearts, and it resides deep within our souls. It is this law of loving God, loving our neighbor and loving our enemy upon which we must meditate, speak and act.

 

©GeorgeHodan

©GeorgeHodan

We are so quick to point fingers, yet we need to slow our roll long enough to take a different approach. When a brother or sister sins, the first thing we need to do is look into our own hearts. We need to first study our own behavior. We possess two eyes; we need to lift our eye from the microscope of judgment long enough to remove the log blocking our view from the other eye of grace and mercy.

This is not to say we ignore sin. But there are specific ways we are called to handle it.

Our own sin:

Proverbs 28:13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ:

Matthew 18:15-17 If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church.

Galatians 6:1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

For Those Outside the Church:

Like it or not, God is the final arbiter of judgment and mercy:

1 Corinthians 5:12-13 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside.

Romans 9:15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

When Jesus said,

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few”

he wasn’t speaking about following rules. He was speaking about love and mercy. It’s easy to follow a list of rules proscribing certain behavior; it’s not so easy to allow our thoughts, our attitudes and our hearts to be transformed. It’s easy to be “nice.” It’s not so easy to embrace the true message of the gospel of grace. It’s easy to stand by the sidelines. It’s not so easy to deny our own prejudices or agendas, pick up our cross daily and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23).

“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:36-37

www.marmarthunder.wordpress.com

Next Week: Pure Hearts = Good Fruit

23 comments

  1. Tell it! Keep going, Susan!

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  2. It’s so much easier to see the failings of others than it is to see our own. You presented it well. Thank you!

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    1. Amen, Susan. And thank you. 🙂

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  3. Having just taken an updated spiritual gifts inventory, I discovered I actually scored negative numbers in mercy and compassion (to no one’s surprise I might add!). But one thing I have seen as a result of my recent battles with sexual sins is a dramatic shift in my attitude towards others. Now when I see someone else caught in a web of addiction, sin, lust or whatever, my first thoughts are not “Why in the hell did they do that?????” My first thoughts now are towards seeing them as a person who is struggling against the uphill battle of sin just as I do. While they may not deal with the same things I do, they need the Lord’s compassion as much as I do. So my first thought is to ask the Lord how can I be of help? Great post Susan, thanks for the food, I was hungry this morning!

    Jekyll (Sometimes Hyde)

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    1. You know, I’ve taken those inventories, too; they are only a snapshot in time. If you re-read Galatians 5:22-23, you’ll see that when we abide in the Spirit, and because the Spirit abides in us, we automatically have a source for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We cannot do any of these things through self-will. We must be willing to submit ourselves to the work of the Spirit that is already in us. Once we open ourselves to His power, that is when the Scripture, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 2:14) truly begins to work in us.

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  4. To love God, to know Him, to be reconciled with Him, yes, that is true Love, that is what redeems us.

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    1. Amen, Kitt. I have, of late, felt so content in Him. He is definitely a huge factor in the peace of my daily life. Thank you so much for the read and comment. I really do appreciate your words in this space.

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  5. All these things are wrapped up in one word, “love”. I find it hard to love those who have been mean to me or people I love. The only way is through the Holy Spirit who resides in me. I cannot do it on my own. I have to remember that mercy has been shown to me on the cross. I should show no less to others. Your inspiration hits deep in my heart. xo

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    1. None of us can do it without the Spirit – we must rely on him to help us, but that is, I think, what is expected if we are truly to follow Jesus and pass along the mercy he showed to us. Thank you for your always insightful comments, my sweet friend.

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  6. very profound. thanks for sharing. vw

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    1. Thank you for your kind and generous comment.

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      1. No Maam. Thank you. God bless. vw

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  7. You said SO MANY good things here, Susan. I liked the commentary you quoted, “…God wants those who sin to love Him and know Him, not simply to change their behavior..” Amen and amen! Actually, God is not dealing with our sin anymore; He’s dealing with our new nature. He seems to think Jesus dealt with that on the Cross. Now, every time we stumble is a new opportunity to come to God and learn something about ourselves in Christ that we haven’t brought into our experience yet. And what you said about our relationship to one another is so critical. Paul said we’re not to see each other according to the flesh anymore (circumstances, experience) but according to who we are in Christ (2 Cor.5:16). That’s the perspective we have that lends itself to mercy. Really good stuff here! 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Mel. You have no idea how encouraging it is to me to hear your words. It’s so important to bring to light the importance of this new nature we have in Christ in a way that readers will understand. You added to this intent beautifully with your comment on Paul, and the perspective “that lends itself to mercy.” Thank you. 🙂

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    2. Good show of wisdom here Mel.

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      1. Mel is truly a wise soul, Spirit-led. I always pay attention to his words; I know they come from the Lord.

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  8. To me, the key is ‘…let he who is without sin, cast the first stone’, and looking to the log in our own eye before we judge the stone in another’s. Scrutiny must always begin with ourselves: ‘know thyself’. If we did, we would be too humbled to gossip or slander others. Wish more people who claim to be Believers would remember this. I struggle with it all the time.

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    1. I do, too, in certain areas; I know my blind spots and need to stop and pray when that log hits me full on. And, yes, some think that claim of Believer comes with a free pass to say and do egregious things. A careful and meditative read of Romans 1-3 would dispel that thought once and for all.

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  9. Thanks Susan! A very important post and message to us all. As we head into the weekend I will keep your message in the forefront of my mind. Blessings to you dear friend. Your work is so important.

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    1. Thank you and bless you, Lorrie. If just one seed is planted…

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      1. A whole garden will grow!!! Love to you:)

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  10. Great message this morning Susan. Thank you!!

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    1. You’re welcome, Levi. Always a pleasure to have you visit!

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