Bible Study Lesson: Beatitudes
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Meaning of being Merciful:
- Meaning: Compassionate, helpful, kind, giving towards the weak, sick and the poor
- This beatitude hardly seems as paradoxical as some of the other beatitudes. Today, most of us would agree that it is good to be merciful to others. However, when Jesus spoke these words, it was as shocking to the audience, as some other beatitudes.
- The Romans despised pity. Being merciful was rather exception. (It reminds me of a scene in coliseum from the movie ‘Gladiator’, when the crowd cheered Maximus for sparing life of Tigris, bestowing him the title “Maximus the Merciful”.)
- The Pharisees were also very judgmental to others and showed little mercy. These could also be due to the common perception, that suffering was the result and deserving punishment of personal sin. Jesus accused and condemned the Pharisees for not showing mercy. (Matthew 23:23)
- Jesus’ ministry was marked with the compassion, love and care for the ‘unfortunate’ of this world. And the Christians are to have same attitude. Col 3:12: -”Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion.”
- Being Merciful is an action based emotion. You cannot truly be merciful or compassionate to someone, unless you really do something about it.
- It is not merely feeling bad about someone’s situation, it is an emotion which prompts one to act on it.
- It is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Kindness – Gal 5:22)
- Act of mercy first come from the realization that you yourself have been shown mercy by God.
- Luke 6:36: -”Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
- Being merciful does not always mean joining Red Cross or World Vision or some social justice organizations, but it is also to show compassion to those who are around us, with a kind word or a smile or a small “Act of Random Kindness”! (ARK)
- It is a daily practice or lifestyle weather at home or workplace or in the neighborhood.
Jesus summarized it in a wonderful manner in Matthew 25:35-40, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
“They will receive (obtain) mercy as they show to others”.
Kindness and compassion are the integral part of Christian character combined with love and forgiveness. Yet, I often find myself struggling with it. Many times, I may be kind to someone out of obligation or duty, but in my heart, I find myself grumbling about it, often expecting return. But when I don’t get in return, same kindness, it harbors bitterness. It reminded me of parable of Jesus of servant who received mercy from his master, but did not show mercy to his fellow servant. (Matthew 18: 23-35)
“Lord, help me to remember the mercy and grace I have received from you, when I struggled to be merciful and kind to others.”
Part 5: Beatitudes: Blessed are the Merciful