Friday, January 16, 2015

100 Days on Jesus’ Sermon Mount (Day 6)

“Blessed are those who show mercy.
    They will be treated mercifully.”
— Matthew 5:7 (GW)
Justice is the great clarifier. It works on the law of reciprocity a great amount of the time, even though, we who are saved, have not received God’s justice: we escaped it!
A constant principle of Christian Scripture – Old Testament and New – is this principle of what we sow we reap; maybe not so directly here on earth, but it appears that’s the way heaven works.
How can we expect God’s unconditional forgiveness if we have malevolently conspired in bitterness against another person.
As we show mercy toward those who have treated us badly, we, ourselves, are accorded mercy – not from those we’ve been merciful toward; more important than that, God shows us mercy.
It can seem impossibly hard to forgive our oppressors.
And even those who have no idea what they’ve done to us receive our silent wrath. It is good to be honest. We can do better. We would hate to think that even one other person felt about us as we do about them.
It’s time to show mercy in order that we might receive due mercy.
God will remember every thought, word, and action we consider and take in the withholding and giving of mercy.
There are consequences for withholding and giving mercy. There is no middle place. By being merciful we are friends of the Lord. By withholding the mercy any and all of us are capable of, we consume judgment for ourselves.
Let’s consider how we can go on in good works of mercy – to actually put to bed petty complaints and major iniquities, alike, through some form of reconciliation.
Let’s act as if we were the ones who are called before God to give an account of our lives – because we are! Such a moment there is no escaping. It is a stroke of wisdom to act mercifully.
How mercifully? How merciful is God in forgiving us?
1.     God’s task of us in this context: that person you are still bitter against, when will you truly forgive him or her?
2.     Forgiveness can seem impossibly hard to do. How can we ensure we follow through and actually achieve what God requires of us?
3.     Can we forgive and still prosper? That’s the real challenge. The moment we conceive we will prosper from forgiving someone we are, at once, motivated to forgive.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

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