“Blessed Are the Merciful”
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
We live in a world of human need. There are physical needs, emotional needs, and spiritual needs. We also live in a world of sin. People hurt each other, neglect responsibilities, fight, argue, and do as they please. These sins create many more needs–the need for cleansing, the need for comfort, the need for healing, the need for security, the need for love, and the need for forgiveness.
In this beatitude, Jesus shows us how to find blessing in a needy and very hurting world: show MERCY. We cannot change the whole system. In this world there will be offenses, sins, abuse, oppression, atrocities. Things will happen to people that never should happen. And because of that, there will be poor people, suffering people, miserable people, wretched people, as long as we are in this world.
“Blessed are the merciful!”
How blessed are those who are moved by the needs of people! Mercy is more than a feeling of sympathy. The Greek word has the force of action; to be merciful means to be moved by compassion. The merciful are those who respond to human need, those who move among the suffering, those who give what they have to help those who have not.
To show mercy requires a particular economic outlook. Like the good Samaritan, we must take time out of our workday, lay the needy on our donkey, pour our oil upon his wounds, and use our resources to provide his bed. Our material goods are not given to us to be laid up in storehouses for personal comforts, but as trusts from a merciful Father to be used for the kingdom of God.
To be merciful, we need a particular way of seeing. In a needy world, we easily grow calloused to people. We easily train our eyes to look for what we want from others instead of looking for what others may need from us. We need the eyes of Jesus. “When he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
Merciful eyes see more than surface needs. Rejection, loneliness, despair, discouragement, self-will, self-pity, fear, moral failure–these needs are not as visible, but they are real, and they are all around us. When we walk down the street, when we stroll through a mall, when we visit with neighbors, what do we see? Are our eyes open to the deeper levels of human need? Can we see with the eyes of Jesus?
Blessed are the merciful! They know the joy of giving, sharing, and sacrificing. They know the joy of looking into faces where hope has been renewed, where faith has been restored, where gladness and joy have replaced gloom and misery. They know the joy of deep friendships and rich fellowship.
Blessed are the merciful! They also know the joy of receiving mercy. Nobody is above need. Nobody is above needing compassionate response. Those who show compassion receive compassion. They receive it from those to whom they have shown compassion. But best of all they receive it from the heavenly Father. Their sensitivity to people in need makes the Father in heaven very sensitive to them when they are in need.
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy!”
– -John Coblentz, Deeper Life Ministries Newsletter, August 1995