Blessed are the merciful 2-13-20
By Dr. Jim Riley
“Blessed are those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 NLT
What did Jesus mean by the poor, those who mourn, those who are meek, those who are merciful being blessed?
Blessed means happy and content! But how are the poor, those who mourn, or those who are meek or those who are hungry and thirsty, those who are merciful feel they are blessed? It’s crazy! It seems a paradox, an unthinkable way of feeling blessed.
But as we have seen Jesus teaches us a new way to think about real life. He knows the best way to live a happy life. Being merciful to others is another key way to be happy.
To be merciful means to care about others who are going through a tough time. It’s not natural to care about others’ problems. We got enough of our own, don’t we?
But Jesus says the happiest people are those who are prepared not only to deal with their own problems but to assist others with their problems.
Though the world may be filled with those who only help themselves, Jesus tells us we are to consider others’ needs and show them kindness and mercy.
Valentine’s Day today may all about flowers and candy but the origins of the holiday is not about romantic love but mercy. The story behind Valentine’s is based on a real person although some of what we know may be legendary. His name was Valentinus, who was a priest who lived under the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius around 270 A.D
Claudius had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.” Valentine defied the emperor and secretly performed weddings.
Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius . There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison.
“One of the men who held him in prison was a man called Asterius, whose daughter was blind. Valentine was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.”
On Feb 14 in the year 270 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter. He inspired today’s Valentine cards by signing it, “from your Valentine.”
Instead of showing anger against those who imprisoned him and had him to be executed, Valentine showed the mercy and even went so far as to heal the daughter of a man who had imprisoned him.
While I was a pastor in Atlanta GA I went through a terrible time of a church split.One man was particularly hateful of me because of my stand on the Presbyterian denomination. His name was Hal Hart but he had no heart. I had a hard time not hating him and a hard time forgiving him for what he did not to me as much as to my wife and four children when I was forced to leave the church and was left with no salary. It caused us to uproot my family and move across country for me to take an interim position at a church.For years I struggled with forgiving him. I finally with Christ’s help came to forgive him. In fact, I and my family attended a 100th anniversary of this church and I could speak to Hal Hart without any resentment in my heart. Christ did a miracle in my heart.
Mercy triumphs over judgment!!
God‘s mercy triumphs over his judgment of us!
Jesus shows us God’s mercy when we don’t deserve it. At the cross Jesus even forgave the people who were crucifying him.He prayed, “Father, forgive them…” Jesus died on the cross demonstrating for all time that mercy triumphs over judgment.
Have you held forgiveness against others? Do you hold things against others? Do hold grudges? Or do you feel you can’t forgive yourself for something you did wrong? Know that the blood of Jesus was shed on the cross to set you free. God’s mercy triumphs over judgment!