A Weekly Word from Your Pastor
A Weekly Word from Your Pastor
“Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.”
Christians get labeled as ruthless and non-caring. One of the reasons is that too often, in church, instead of seeking restitution with those who mess up are, the church is too quick to judge and banish. It has been said of the church that we too readily, “Shoot our Wounded.” If someone confesses to a sin in our midst we are quick to distance ourselves from them and go our own way. We are too quick to cast judgement on them and gossip about them and what they did. Instead of going to them and trying to get them to see the error of their way we punish them with our absence and shun them as if they had a great disease.
So with those charges against us, we are faced with Jesus’ next beatitude that says, “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall receive mercy.” What is mercy? It is not the same as grace. Mercy deals with the pain, misery, and consequences or result of sin. Grace deals with the sin and quilt itself. The mourners learn to look at their own sin. The meek learn kindness and gentleness. Now those who are merciful realize that sin is sin and it is best to realize that your own sin is as bad as the worse sin you know.
To be merciful is to reach out to those who are confused and misled. Those who are struggling with sin and losing their way. Instead of giving up on them the merciful reach out to them. Our greatest example is Jesus. He didn’t once go beyond a problem, He met it head on and did something about it. Just as He told the woman caught in adultery after her accusers were gone, we too must remind those who are in sin to “go and sin no more.”
To be merciful is to see sin as sin. We do not have a rating system for sin. If you haven’t done the big one then you are all right. That seems often to be our thought process. I cheating God with my talents, time and tithe, but at least I am not a murderer.
Jesus put this type of thought to a story. He tells the story of the tax collector and the Pharisee. They both go up to the temple, but the tax collector stays in the back. The Pharisee having seen the tax collector prays, “God, thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
Jesus then tells us what the tax collector says while he stands at a distance and doesn’t even life his eyes to the heavens, “God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Jesus then says to the crowd, “I tell you this man (tax collector), rather than the other, went home justified before God.” We will never receive mercy for our own until we give it out in all circumstances to others.
God sees sin all the same. We will become more merciful when we stop comparing ourselves with others and begin having compassion for all people.
“Blessed are the merciful, For they shall receive mercy.”
Dear Lord, forgive us when we do not distribute mercy in our everyday lives. Help us to see people as created in your image therefore they were created with value. Help us to be compassionate and show mercy to all who are less fortunate than we are. Give us the ability to reach out to those who are suffering from their plight and give them hope. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.