An Alien Concept

by Greg Laurie on Jul 13, 2020
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
—Matthew 5:7

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” When Jesus spoke these words, Rome was in control of Israel. And the Romans did not value mercy. In fact, one Roman philosopher stated that mercy was a disease of the soul.

When a child was born in the Roman world, the father had the right of patria potestas, meaning “power of a father.” If he wanted his newborn to live, he held his thumb up. But if he wanted his child to die, he turned his thumb down, and the child would be immediately drowned.

Mercy was an alien concept to the Roman mind. Romans were all about strength and domination. They viewed mercy as a flaw, not a virtue.

So there was Jesus saying, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NKJV). In other words, happy people are merciful people.

And who is a greater example of mercy than Jesus? He extended mercy to the woman caught in the actual act of adultery. He extended mercy to the Samaritan woman who was married and divorced five times and was living with a man.

He also extended mercy to Zacchaeus, a tax collector who took advantage of people. And as He hung on the cross, He extended mercy to the criminal next to Him who probably was guilty of murder.

The more righteous a person is, the more merciful he or she will be. And the more sinful a person is, the harsher and more critical he or she will be. This is a very important distinction because sometimes, under the guise of spirituality, people will be very condemning and angry with anyone who does anything that disappoints them.

On the other hand, godly people are merciful people. And if you’re not merciful, then you don’t understand what it means to be godly.

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Deep reflection on the fundamental Christian messages of love, compassion, charity, and self-sacrifice are part of Henry “Red” Erwin’s story, as told by his grandson, Jon Erwin .

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