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Friday, March 9, 2012

The Fifth Beatitude – Significance & Meaning

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” 

Love, compassion, and forgiveness towards one’s neighbor will bring peace in your relationships. And your Heavenly Father will be merciful with you! Jesus reminds us that whatever “you did to the least of my brethren, you did it to me [Matthew 25:31-46].” Here are the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy:

The Corporal Works of Mercy 

1. Feed the Hungry
2. Give drink to the thirsty3. Clothe the naked 
4. Shelter the homeless 

5. Comfort the imprisoned 

6. Visit the sick
7. Bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy 

1. Admonish sinners 

2. Instruct the uninformed 

3. Counsel the doubtful 

4. Comfort the sorrowful 

5. Be patient with those in error 

6. Forgive offenses 

7. Pray for the living and the dead

Mercy is love toward those that are miserable, those that are wretched, and those that need some type of help or assistance. The merciful are those that are tender hearted and who truly feel in the deepest parts of their beings the pain and the suffering of those who need mercy. But most importantly is the fact that the merciful are those special individuals who go out their way and make the effort to help. Having compassion on the those that are in any way hurting is only the first part of having mercy. Doing something about it, is the all important second part.
We as believers must show mercy to all men and we are to do this by both sympathizing with them and by taking care and tending to their needs. And we must do this with readiness and gladness, with affection and tenderness, always ready to give and to forgive. Our Lord instructs us to show the same type of mercy to others that he shows to each of us. He talked much about showing mercy and a good example is found at 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God”.

Therefore, to be merciful as a Christian does not mean to perform isolated, occasional acts of charity. A Christian is to be habitually merciful, and all acts of mercy should be done in a thankful and cheerful manner. Just imagine how absolutely wonderful God would feel if in the act of being merciful he heard you say, “Praise be to you God for this opportunity that you have given me to help someone else in need. Thank you Father for letting me be of some assistance to another human being.” So doing an act of mercy in a thankful and loving manner has to make God our Father just beam with joy.
The merciful are indeed those special people who love all men as themselves: The merciful truly believe that whatever mercy they desire from God, they in turn will show to all men everywhere. The merciful are the ones who realize that our Heavenly Father demands that we be merciful, and they also realize that our acts of mercy will be repaid a thousand fold. Mercy is extremely important to Jesus Christ and much of the Bible either directly or indirectly deals in some way with mercy and kindness shown to others.
This beatitude is also very concerned with mercy through the act of daily forgiveness. Of forgiving offenses that have been inflicted upon you, and in which you show mercy towards everyone who wrongs you regardless of the reasons and regardless of the circumstances. Our Lord demands that we forgive one another just as he is constantly forgiving you. Matthew 6:14-15 points this out so very clearly. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”.
Many ask why should Christians be merciful? Well for one thing, God shows us mercy, not when we are good, but when we are miserable, helpless, wicked, ungodly, and powerless. He shows us mercy when we are his enemies and we are disobedient, unrighteous, dead in trespasses and sins, foolish, ignorant, suffering, and miserable due to the consequences of our sin. Yet God looks upon our misery and wretchedness and truly feels our pain and is very happy to extend his mercy to each of us. So instead of pouring out his just wrath upon us, he is compassionate toward us. He freely justifies us, forgives our sins, extends his mercy upon us, and fills us with his own righteousness. And that is one reason why we ought to be merciful every day to the miserable, the helpless, the wretched, and the needy.
Secondly, each one of us needs the mercy of God each and every day. We need to be aware that we are still miserable sinners, and because of that, we are still in need of God’s mercy every single day. If we are honest and examine ourselves in the light of God’s Word, then we will realize that indeed we do sin daily. And because we sin daily, we need God’s forgiveness and mercy daily, and if God is willing to give us his mercy every day then we in turn should be happy to extend mercy to others also on a daily basis.
Another reason for having continuous mercy is that being merciful is a test of our Christianity. If you are not constantly being merciful then there is only one explanation. You have not understood the grace and the mercy of God and you are outside of Jesus Christ. We who have received God’s rich mercy are merciful because the grace of God makes us that way.

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