Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Be Merciful

Luke 6:36

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

RayMcDWhen I was younger – and I officiated baseball games – in some of the leagues where I worked there was something called a mercy rule. Sometimes it was called a slaughter rule. Either way it went like this – if a team ever got ahead of another team by 10-15 runs – (depending on the league) – the game was called to show mercy to the team being beaten so badly. In some leagues it didn’t matter how many innings had been played and I remember the mercy rule being applied in the bottom of the first inning. Mercy – defined on an online dictionary is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

In the Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical TheologyMercy is a concept integral to an understanding of God’s dealings with humankind. In English translations of the Bible, it comes to expression in phrases such as “to be merciful, ” “to have mercy on, ” or “to show mercy toward.” The corresponding term, “merciful, ” describes a quality of God and one that God requires of his people. The noun denotes compassion and love, not just feelings or emotions, as expressed in tangible ways.

We’re called to be merciful – to show mercy. Luke 6:36 – Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. We’re told to live out our faith by showing mercy to others. Forgiveness is part of mercy. Jesus tells us – Matthew 6:14–15 – 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. If we do not show mercy – mercy will not be shown to us.

We spend a lot of time dealing with doctrine – as well as we should – but God is after our hearts – a heart of mercy – knowing that if He has our hearts our actions and beliefs will follow. Hosea 6:6 – For I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

Here is today’s passage in partial context. Luke 6:27–36 – 27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Loving those – showing mercy to those – who hate or do us wrong – is not easy – but it is the example that Christ set for us – Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We are called to offer mercy to all just as Christ did.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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October 12, 2016 - Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , ,

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