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Blessed are the Merciful
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:7, Ephesians 4:32, Psalm 139:23-24
When I was a little girl, my sister and I used to play with bugs on my grandmother’s porch in the sweltering summer heat of Louisiana. If we were caught in the act, my uncle would call out to us, “Have mercy on them. Put them out of their misery.” It never occurred to my 5 year old self that we could be physically hurting another living creature. We were just playing and didn’t know any better.
In the fifth beatitude presented by Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount, he presents his audience with a call to action…to be merciful. Other translations use the word “compassion” or “kindness”.
However, when I’ve prayed over what mercy means to me, one theme continually comes to my mind: Forgiveness.
There was a time in my life when I was held captive to bitterness. I was angry. Hurt. And there was one person solely responsible for that hurt. At that time, I started praying for forgiveness. I set an alarm on my phone to go off at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. during the week so that when I heard the bell, I knew to pray for this person.
In that season, God gave me a sentence: “Forgiveness is the easiest way to overcome evil.”
I slowly realized that forgiving this person was not just about me freeing them from their debt. It was about me freeing myself.
Years later when I re-read that sentence, I realize that it is the same forgiveness that God showed us to overcome the same evil. He forgave our debts so that we could be free.
Two verses come to my mind. The first is Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
The second is a verse that I have been praying for 2014. Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
I don’t know about you, but I definitely have people in my life whom I need to forgive. Forgiveness is not an easy task. It takes commitment to prayer, accountability and the willingness to believe that God will indeed set us free. Don’t allow evil to keep you in the chains of bitterness, anger and fear.
Is there someone you need to forgive? Friends? Family? Co-workers? Husbands? Children? I pray today that God will test your anxious thoughts and lead you to compassion for those who have hurt you.
Have mercy on them. Put yourself out of misery.