Read Matthew 5:7
7 God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy. (NLT)
Let’s paraphrase this Beatitude: “Favoured by God are those who are not harshly judgemental towards others, because they show they don’t want God to treat them in such a way.” Those who know their need of mercy and gratefully receive it are most likely to be merciful to others.
It is not as if my being merciful earns me God’s mercy: nothing can do that. It is rather that recipients of mercy are driven to be merciful. By showing mercy to others they give evidence of having received it themselves. Much as Jesus elsewhere speaks of God forgiving our sins as we forgive others their sins.
And it is not as if being merciful to others means being blind to their faults. God is merciful to us but doesn’t ignore our failings. It is just that he has dealt with them by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. We are not blind to others’ failings either, but when we are merciful we choose not to let those failings define our relationship with them. As recipients of mercy, we cannot become judgemental because we are deeply aware of humankind’s common need for grace and mercy.
How would it be if God focussed on our failings and let that dominate his attitude towards us? So we don’t have that attitude to others. We who need and receive mercy, give mercy.
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