The previously mentioned beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” leads us straight to the next one: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Since we now realize that any of our good qualities come from the imputed righteousness of Christ and since we understand that we never worked for it, we become merciful towards the errors and weaknesses of others. We understand that we received a gift –a gift of God’s grace.
Therefore, we desire to see others receiving this gift too. “What do you have that you did not receive?” Paul asks the Corinthians. Nothing was earned in terms of our salvation. All was a gift of grace: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God -not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). The fact that we are enabled to be merciful towards others are seed that we sow, and we shall reap the rewards of mercy. “They will be shown mercy.”
James wrote that mercy triumphs over judgment. When we are quick to judge and slow to show mercy, we don’t fully understand the mercy that we have been shown by God. Besides that, if we are quick to judge we are doing ourselves a disfavour because we are robbing ourselves of the mercy that could be shown to us when we need it. “Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37). Paul warned the church in Rome, “At whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself.” (Romans 2:1)
Since none of us can claim to be without sin, we are continually in need of mercy. We make mistakes, think wrong thoughts, say the wrong words and the way we treat our neighbour can always be improved upon. But the grace of God allows us to approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16).
Therefore, we do ourselves a favor when we show mercy towards the weaknesses of others. “Judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (James 2:13). God’s mercy certainly triumphed over judgement when He extended His mercy towards us. The merciful are indeed blessed because they grasp the mercy they have themselves received from God. This understanding is displayed in their merciful nature.
- The Beatitudes: Blessed are those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness (thoughtsonscripture.com)
- The Beatitudes: Blessed Are Those Who Mourn (thoughtsonscripture.com)