April 27, 2014
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
CONSIDER THIS. . .
The beautiful thing about THE SERMON is we get to behold the preacher himself demonstrating it through his life at every turn. The Gospels offer us an ever unfolding picture of what it looks like when this message is enacted in a human life; words becoming flesh. When THE SERMON fleshes itself out in human life, we see nothing short of the Glory of God.
We often think of mercy in the transactional sense. It is something we give to another that they do not deserve or merit, or it is withholding a justly deserved retribution. Long before mercy happens in some exchange between people, mercy is a deep disposition of the soul. Mercy is the general bearing of love toward other people. The default bearing of a human person towards others is to be unmerciful, to seek justice, to punish the wrong, to demand repayment. Mercy does not come naturally to us, but the Holy Spirit wills to make mercy our natural bearing and response toward one another.
In Sermon #2 on THE SERMON, Wesley makes a masterful analysis of mercy through the lens of 1 Corinthians 13, Paul’s Manifesto on Holy Love. Here’s a choice excerpt.
Love “believes all things.” It is always willing to think the best; to put the most favorable construction on everything. It is ever ready to believe whatever may tend to the advantage of any one’s character. It is easily convinced of (what it earnestly desires) the innocence or integrity of any man; or, at least, of the sincerity of his repentance, if he had once erred from the way. It is glad to excuse whatever is amiss; to condemn the offender as little as possible; and to make all the allowance for human weakness which can be done without betraying the truth of God.
I want that to be true of me. Don’t you? Of course you want it to be true of me, but do you want it to be true of yourself?
Mercy just may be the deepest descriptor of the character of God and consequently the core-est of the core values of the Kingdom of God.
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