Blessed are the merciful:for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous— with life- joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy! AMP.
Some years ago my wife and I were having a discussion about how she handled an issue concerning a brother who had made some errors in judgement and had been ostracised by the church. She told me that God had forgiven him for his sins and the church should do the same. I was driving and she was sitting next to me. I tried to keep my eyes on the road as I told her that the sentiment she expressed was referred to as ‘unsanctified mercy.’ She asked me what that meant and I explained. Unsanctified mercy is showing mercy to someone undeserving of it because he had been involved in the same situation many times without showing remorse or repentance. My wife didn’t agree with me. She insisted that the brother needed to be shown mercy, forgiven by the church and brought back into fellowship with the saints.
About a year later I brought up this conversation with my wife and she reminded me that I said the sentiment she expressed at that time was ‘unsanctified mercy.’ I apologised to her and admitted that I was wrong. When we had that discussion there were certain things I didn’t understand. I stood as a judge against this brother, thinking I was better than him, more spiritual, holier and closer to The Lord than him. But I was wrong and I have long repented of my ignorance and pride. What made me start seeing things differently? Well, I realised I had great potential to make mistakes and do some absolutely dumb things like everybody else. I realised that it is The Lord who keeps me from falling and not my spirituality. I also realised that I am nothing without the grace of God working in my life. I realised that mercy is a spiritual law and if I ever wanted to receive mercy in my own life I had to start sowing mercy in other people’s lives and situations.
What is mercy? Mercy is God reaching out to helpless, underserving humanity and extending His help to lift, deliver, rescue and save us from our situations. Mercy delivers you from the just consequences of your actions, sins and mistakes. Showing mercy to others means helping and delivering people who are underserving of it.
Jesus was moved by mercy and freely gave mercy to the weak, the fallen and the helpless. Jesus never rejected anyone who cried out for his mercy. Jesus was driven by compassion and mercy. Everyone who approached him on the platform of mercy was saved, delivered, healed, rescued and helped.
And they came to Jericho:and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace:but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, HAVE MERCY ON ME. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way. (Emphasis mine)
Jesus taught us to show mercy. He said that there is a special blessing and favour on the lives of those who are merciful. He also said that it is only the merciful who will obtain mercy.
Life will present us with situations which will give us the opportunity to either show mercy or become judgemental and condemn people. If we are merciful we act like our Heavenly Father who is merciful. Ephesians 2:4 says God is rich in mercy. 2Corinthians 1:3 says God is the Father of mercies. When we show mercy we act like God our father and score some heavy points with Him.
Jesus said that it is only those who show mercy who will receive mercy when they need it in their lives. This means that mercy is a seed.
When you SOW mercy you can be sure to REAP a harvest of mercy in your own life and situation. There is a 100% certainty that somehow, someday, somewhere, sometime on your kingdom journey on this earth, you will be in a situation or in a position that will require mercy to be shown to you. It means that you are human like everybody else and someday you will make mistakes or make errors in judgement that will require mercy to be shown you and you will receive mercy only because you have freely SOWN mercy to others when they needed it from you. When we cry out for mercy, God will look at the mercy we have shown to others in their moment of need and reward us with mercy.
But unless we have sown mercy to people who needed it, we will NOT obtain mercy from anyone. Unless we have shown mercy to others, mercy would be denied us. Unless we have freely given mercy when it was tough or difficult to give, mercy would be withheld from us. This is a spiritual law which cannot be broken.
Mercy is given to and received only by the merciful.
The unmercifully, the judgemental, the viciously critical will never obtain mercy in their time of need. Those who see themselves holier than everybody else, better than everybody else, more spiritual than everybody else; those who have made themselves judges over the body of Christ, who criticise, condemn and refuse to show mercy to the fallen will never receive mercy. On the day they cry out for help, on the day they ask The Lord to show them mercy and deliver them from their own situation, mercy will be withheld from them and they will be abandoned and reap the harvests of their refusal to show mercy to those who needed it from them.
Many decades ago brother Jimmy Swaggart was a very popular preacher. Multitudes attended his meetings, watched him on television, listened to him on radio and supported his ministry with huge financial donations. He was rich, powerful and influential. But Jimmy was very critical, judgemental and unmercifully in his dealings with members of the body of Christ especially fellow ministers who fell into sin and made some errors in judgement.
He was vicious in his condemnation and judgement of these men and women in the hour in which they needed to be shown mercy. He rejoiced in their failures and celebrated their downfall like an agent of darkness. He never showed mercy to these men and women who needed to be forgiven, helped and restored. Rather he stood as a judge over God’s people and ruined the lives and ministries of many people.
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, RESTORE such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (Emphasis mine)
This text says if a saint is overtaken in a fault, those who are spiritual should,
1. Do all that is possible to restore such a person back to fellowship with The Lord.
2. They should approach this situation not with pride but in humility and the fear of The Lord.
3. They should take heed to themselves because they could also be overtaken by the same fault.
When ministers were overtaken in a fault, instead of praying that God should show them mercy, instead of finding ways of restoring them in a spirit of meekness and humility as Galatians 6 says, Jimmy would use them as material to preach, he would hound them and make their lives miserable. And because he had the platform, the visibility and the influence he made sure many of these men and women were never restored to ministry.
Jimmy was legalistic, unforgiving and showed no mercy to those who fell into sin. He humiliated and shamed them until many of them gave up the ministry and went into seclusion. Jimmy literally used his pulpit to do the devil’s work. He became an accuser of the brethren instead of being a restorer of the fallen and the broken. He presented himself as a better man, a holier man, a man who could do no wrong. He forgot the words of Jesus that warned that someday, somehow, somewhere, everyone of us would need mercy and unless we’ve shown and sown mercy to other people, mercy will be denied us. Sometime in the ’80’s Jimmy’s cup became full and it overflowed. He was overtaken in a fault. What he did was worse than what the people he condemned did.
He set himself up for failure by breaking the hedge of mercy. When we are merciful we surround ourselves with God’s divine hedge of mercy and we position ourselves not only to receive God’s mercy but to receive mercy from other people. This dear brother didn’t fall because he was the most sinful man of his time. He fell because he had been unmercifully to the brethren, therefore in his hour of need nobody showed him mercy. He cried for it but never found it. He fell from his high platform and was unable to rise up to his former position. His ministry went into oblivion and has remained that way for decades.
If you have been unmerciful to those overtaken in a fault, you should get on your knees and repent of your sin. Ask God to forgive you and deliver you from your pride and self righteousness. No matter how spiritual you think you are remember that you are human, remember that you are kept from falling not by your own ability but by the power and grace of God, remember that if it weren’t for God’s power keeping you from falling you could be the very worst sinner in your community.
Now unto him that is able to KEEP YOU FROM FALLING and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (Emphasis mine)
Before you raise your self righteous and judgemental fist against a fallen brother or sister, before you judge, criticise and condemn them, before you declare them ‘unfit’, dissociate from them and ostracise them from the gathering of the saints, you should remember that there is a special blessing God has reserved exclusively for the merciful and it is only the merciful who will obtain mercy. Learn to show mercy to the helpless, the weak, the fallen. It is better for us to err on the side of being too merciful than not to show mercy at all.
May God give you a heart of compassion and mercy. May God bless you with a spirit of humility to make you understand that you are not better than any of your brethren in the Body of Christ, that you were saved by grace, that you stand only because God keeps you and not because of your great spirituality. May God move you to show mercy to the fallen, to the weak and to the helpless who have no helper to deliver them. May God make you an instrument of mercy in the kingdom, in your community, at your job and business, in your school and in all areas of your influence. May mercy flow out of your life to touch, transform, heal, deliver and bless all the lives you come in contact with. And as you show mercy, may you find mercy from God and man in your hour of need. Amen.