By: Undre Griggs, Jr
What a blessing it is to be merciful to others. Like many of the blessings we discussed in previous weeks, there are immediate blessings on earth and eternal blessings in heaven. Our ability to forgive and show mercy to others is directly related to the forgiveness and mercy God shows us.
Matthew 5:7 (ESV): “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
The Greek word for mercy in the above verse can also be translated as compassionate. When we show compassion for the situations others are going through, they are appreciative and reciprocate the kind gesture. If we attempt to understand the difficulties others face, we will offer assistance, solutions, or our time. Like faith producing works, mercy and compassion will produce action as well.
Colossians 3:12-13 (ESV): Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
When we are sympathetic, we will exhibit patience and forgiveness. We will be kind in our interactions and speak in a humble manner. Even though we will interact with people who do not deserve mercy, we will be humble because we know we do not deserve mercy either. The mercy God shows us by providing us the opportunity to enter the kingdom of heaven is more than any of us deserve. If we remain focused on this blessing, we will be equipped for the task of forgiving those who do not warrant it.
Psalm 103:2-4 (ESV): Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
On earth, those who show compassion to others are respected and admired. They receive blessings on earth because people feel compelled to return the favor when they are going through a tough time. From a Spiritual perspective, God forgives and shows mercy to those who show mercy to others. Since we have all sinned, God’s mercy is the only way we will obtain entry into heaven. Mercy is more than words; it is the action of showing patience, endurance, kindness, and humility. Mercy is a choice we can make every day, and it is a choice God rewards us for making.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Jesus transitions from the humble and content being blessed in their suffering and mistreatment, to the righteous being blessed in their desire to live a virtuous life.
Matthew 5:6 (ESV): “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
A person who seeks righteousness is not going to deal in unethical transactions. This will ensure they are well respected by their contemporaries. A righteous person is not going to mislead others or make decisions that benefit them at the expense of others. They are going to esteem others greater than themselves and they are going to protect the innocent.
Isaiah 33:15-17 (ESV): He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil, he will dwell on the heights; his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks; his bread will be given him; his water will be sure. Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches afar.
The life of an immoral person may appear to be fun on the outside, but they are often living in paranoia. They cannot trust those they interact with because everyone is unethical and dishonorable. An unrighteous person is not concerned about the wellbeing of others and ignores evil when it benefits them. This may benefit a short-term life on earth, but it will not bode well for their Judgment. Jesus expects the righteous to be willing to put their interests aside for others. When we do this, He will provide us protection. As our Savior, Jesus will ensure we are made whole. He will restore us from all we lose while on earth.
Matthew 18:18 (ESV): Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
If our focus is solely on preserving whatever life we have gained on earth, we will be unable to partake in a reward of the righteous. The righteous are righteous because God is righteous. For that reason, if we do not live a life in-line with the word of God, we are not righteous and cannot inherit His kingdom. By living a selfless life, we show our faith and trust in God. When we make decisions motivated by greed or fear, we are showing God we do not believe in His ability to provide for us. And as the apostle Paul said in Hebrews 11:6, “without faith it is impossible to please God.”
In His desire for us to live a blessed lives, Jesus shares the need for us to be meek. The meek have the promise of being blessed as well as the promise of inheriting the earth. Meekness is not a weakness, as some believe, but a confidence in the will of God. It is the understanding; I can be content in all outcomes, because I know God is in control. Not that everything will go exactly as we want, but the belief everything will work for the good to them who love God (Romans 8:28).
Matthew 5:5 (NKJV): Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
The Meek inheriting the earth is actually a promise found in the Old Testament. The 37th Psalm is a Psalm of David and it says the meek (v. 11) and righteous (v. 29) will inherit the earth. David encourages the righteous not to worry about what evildoers are doing. He tells us not to be envious of the prosperity they have gained while on earth, because their victory is limited. Sometimes it may seem as if people are getting away with wrongdoing, but it is not our obligation to bring everyone to justice. David does not us to be tempted with short-term gains as the expense of long-term suffering. The Psalm says the wicked will be cut down like grass and wither like green herbs.
Psalm 37:3-8 (NKJV): Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm.
The meek and gentle understand God is in control and they do not need to worry. Peace of mind, patience, and trust are the signs of the meek and righteous. Those who lean on their own understanding will find themselves discouraged, impatient, and anxious. They will sacrifice their salvation for a moment of satisfaction. Do not let the success of someone “doing it the wrong way” cause you to doubt whether God is in control. God promises all will be judged, and they will reap what they sow. No matter how beneficial evil may appear for a time, it will lead to destruction. So do not be tempted. Be strong in your faith, patient and meek in your interactions, for you will receive your inheritance.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Continuing in our discussion on how to live a blessed life, Jesus highlights the sorrow the blessed will endure. It is important to understand Jesus is not promising a life of rainbows and prosperity.
Matthew 5:4 (NKJV): Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Jesus makes it clear we are unable to look at the gifts of the earth to determine if God is pleased or disappointed with us. Whether they are poor or wealthy is of little consequence, God will judge their heart. From a practical standpoint, it was important to God that we have freewill because love and faithfulness is a choice. If He promises absolute poverty to nonbelievers and absolute prosperity to believers – what would you choose? From a Spiritual perspective, there is little benefit to being wealthy or poor. As Jesus puts it, what benefit is it to gain the whole word if you lose your soul? Furthermore, Jesus goes on to urge us to remove any aspect of our lives that could cost us our soul.
Matthew 5:45 (NKJV): that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
The reverse of this is also true. If nothing on earth is worth your soul, then the reward of heaven is worth more than any experience we have on earth.
Philippians 3:8-10 (ESV): Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Understanding this, the apostle Paul considers all of his possessions expendable. He goes as far as to count them as “rubbish” when it comes to the possibility of gaining Christ. For we cannot purchase or earn our salvation, there is nothing we can do save ourselves. This perspective helps us to understand how worthless things on this earth truly are. Not to say we will not mourn loss, but to understand we will gain so much more in return. Remember, everything you lose on earth will be bound in heaven, and everything you bound on earth will be lost in heaven. Be blessed in your understanding that suffering for Christ’s sake will provide a lifetime of blessings.