Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. -Matthew 5:7
Do you want others to judge you? Then be judgmental. Do you want others to treat you well? Then treat others well. Do you want to obtain mercy from others? Then be merciful. It is a simple concept, and yet we are so offended when we don’t follow it and then receive the consequences.
Part of human culture and nature is so cruel. Someone wrongs us and we want to get them back, and even if we forgive we rarely forget. Oh how miserable we are when our one desire is to get even with those who have wronged us. They deserve it though, right? Yes, maybe, but getting them back won’t make you happy. Surprisingly, Jesus teaches that the merciful are happy, and not only are they happy but they will obtain mercy from others in return. If people know that you are a merciful person, they take that into account when casting judgment on you– especially if you have shown them mercy in the past. Since no one is perfect, showing mercy to others will always come in very handy in the future.
Not only does being merciful have the benefit of making you happy and receiving mercy later on in the future, but it also instantly diffuses whatever situation you may be in. It allows you to live in peace, and it makes you feel good. Your friendships will go deeper, your relationships will go deeper, your marriages will go deeper, and people will love you more. How could they not? After all most people know what they deserve. If your having a hard time showing someone else mercy just remember for a moment how much mercy God has shown you. Not only that but think about how it makes you feel when God forgives you and shows you mercy, despite the fact that you clearly don’t deserve it. It makes you feel wonderful, and you can’t help but love God for it. Don’t you want someone else to feel that way too?
This verse, when taken into the context of the entire Bible, was life changing to the Jewish listener. All they had known for generations was the concept of an “eye for an eye”. This concept had started out as a way to limit recompense by the restraint of justice, but it had become more than just a limit; it had become a requirement. It is not that the idea of mercy was foreign to the Jew of Jesus’ day; on the contrary God is a merciful God all through the Bible. Although the idea of mercy was understood, Jesus wanted mercy to be the rule and not the exception. Instead of the other way around as it had been for so long. He would show them an example of what he meant by it when He took our rightful place of being judged on the cross. With that in mind is it really so much for Him to ask His disciples to do the same?