Lesson 10 -- second quarter 1996
May 5, 1996
by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications
How does God expect us to show mercy?
When is my heart pure?
Are peacemakers needed in the church?
"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." What a promise, because we all need mercy! But I find it so difficult to show mercy. My natural reactions bend toward vengefulness and condemnation, toward harshness and pitilessness, toward self-righteousness and arrogance. Thankfully, God knows how to fix my problems and I am anxious to have Him do so.
A Christian worker experienced a stunning moral collapse . . . by choice. The veteran missionary of another denomination mourned: "It's partly my fault; I should have prayed more." That, my friend, is mercy.
Mercy deals with people on the basis of need . . . their need. The merciful individual responds to other people in their failures and shortcomings as he would respond to himself--gently, considerately, redemptively. Mercy forgives. Mercy helps. Mercy sacrifices.
When a "rival" goofs or flounders, mercy grieves and aids. When an antagonist suddenly finds himself at the mercy of the merciful, the merciful shows mercy! When someone is rude or worse, mercy prays about potential trauma, problems, grief or needs in the life of the offender.
Do you see that mercy leaps out of his shoes and into those of the other? How often we fail to do this! God help us to relate to others as He relates to us. Otherwise, Judgment Day will be a merciless occasion for us!
The woman was dressed too . . . well, she "merited" a second look--a lingering, thoughtful gaze. The scenario spun by the novel was so mellow and heart-warming it was only natural to entertain similar thoughts toward that certain fellow in the youth group. The way you were snubbed just . . . grrrr! Once you have enough money, you've just got to have ___________.
The world and our flesh offer us a wider variety of heart stains than a hardware store can offer of wood stains. Identify the stains in the previous paragraph. When my heart is free of these and the myriad of others, then is my heart pure.
This means that if want to see God, I must frequently submit myself to His cleansing. I want Him to make me ever more sensitive to all the subtle and trace contaminants in my heart. And I want Him to make me sensitive about them also. Sensitive enough to get rid of them even though my flesh finds them enjoyable and desirable.
Conflict in the brotherhood? Mistrust? Envy? Jealousy? Bitterness? Anger? Malice? Politicking? Suspicion? The church needs peacemakers! Not busybodies, not wagging tongues, not sympathetic ears, not partisan hearts. We suffer from a chronic shortage of individuals committed to rebuilding brotherhood relationships. Why? When Jesus is the Prince of Peace and we are to be bearers of the glad tidings of peace??!!
Ponder verse nine again. Did you ever wonder whether we might be too glib and presumptuous in claiming to be children of God?
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