Today’s Reading: Matthew 5:7 (HCSB)
The merciful are blessed, for they will be shown mercy.
Today’s Question: At what point or moment in our lives are we most like our Creator and glorify our God?
There have been seasons in my home where one of my three boys has endeavored to imitate my actions. For example, there was a time that Nathan wanted to be a preacher when he grew up. Caleb went through a period in which he wanted to dress like me on Sunday mornings. Eli has perfected the balance of eating cereal with the right amount of milk on each morsel of Cocoa Krispies, thanks to watching his Daddy do the same. It is quite common (and a bit scary) how children will do their best to copy what they see in their parents.
Nineteenth Century preacher, Alexander Maclaren, concluded a sermon on Matthew 5:7 with the challenge to his congregation: “Move among men as copies of God.” What a powerful image that is—to be “copies of God.” Just as the prophet Jonah recognized after completely disobeying God, “…You are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to become angry, rich in faithful love…,” we, too, must admit that God has been more than patient with our sin and rebellion. Because God has shown mercy toward us (though we are completely undeserving), His expectation is that we would in turn show mercy toward others.
Therefore, the life of one who follows Christ is different. The Christian is the first to forgive, even when he or she has every right to retaliate. The Christian should be more than eager to show compassion for the hurting, the poor, the sick, the needy, and the outcast of society. The Christian is a generous giver of time and resources, because none of this person’s possessions or abilities belong to him/her. The follower of Christ views all things as a gift from God to be shared as a blessing with others.
Showing mercy can be extremely difficult in certain circumstances. We fight when our rights are violated and we are instilled with an American “virtue” that it is necessary to use and abuse people in order to succeed in this world. This was the attitude of the Jewish and Roman leadership of Jesus’ day. Yet, the words that flowed from the mouth of our Lord on this mountainside must have cut deeply into the culture. Jesus exalted the character of God and raised the bar for those who wanted to come after Him.
Today, I want to leave you with a quote that you should endeavor to memorize. H. V. Lugt once stated, “It is better to give others a piece of your heart than a piece of your mind.”
“Follow One, Lead Others” Principle #6: True disciples of Christ are the first to show compassionate care and undeserved mercy toward others, because God is merciful and forgiving.
Today’s Prayer Point: Ask God to give you a continual heart of love and a brokenness for those who are hurting, steeped in sin, have rejected Christ, and those who profess to be Christians yet walk according to the way of the world.