Blessed are the merciful

There are nine beatitudes and this fifth one is in the middle. Usually in Scripture, the middle holds a special place. I often wondered why mercy is at the heart of the beatitudes. For myself, I would place “pure of heart” at the center. I can only conclude that there is something very special about mercy.

I think most of us think that we are merciful persons, and perhaps we are, at least to some degree. However, we all tend to live on the surface of things. I know that I do. We only get glimpses of what is really down there below the surface when someone “pushes our buttons,” so to speak. When this happens, hitherto unknown (or conveniently forgotten) violent thoughts and demands for justice emerges from our depths. Most of the time this takes the form of angry thoughts or words. We punish by our attitudes; it can be very subtle. What is very scary is that given the right circumstances, such as desperate conditions where our very survival is at stake, what is subtle in us in our comparatively peaceful and cultured situation can open up to monstrous proportions.

Perhaps this is why mercy is listed after the first four beatitudes. Jesus is telling us that mercy just doesn’t “happen” with us. We have to come to grips with our poverty of spirit, mourn, grow in meekness, and hunger before we can really be merciful. Maybe mercy is rarer among us than we think? In the end, just to be merciful and to obtain God’s mercy is a HUGE deal! What do you think? Why do you think mercy is at the heart of the beatitudes?

2 Responses to “Blessed are the merciful”

  1. Response by Pat:

    I live because of mercy! I am very serious when I say each morning, “God, Your mercies are new today, and I receive all of it.” I am so aware of how much I need mercy and it is joyful to know His never runs short!

    I was raised on mercy. My Daddy was total mercy with me. Therefore, I raised my children on mercy. I was criticized for being merciful at times, but when one of my children got into trouble and I would go on my knees to ask God how I should punish, His answer was always “mercy triumphs over justice!”

    • Thanks Pat, for your passionate testimony on mercy. That little phrase in James “mercy triumphs over justice” is one of the most precious gems in Scripture!

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