A small boy was sent to the store to buy bread. He returned home much later than expected and his mother was worried. She said, "where have you been, what took you so long"? He said, "I ran into a friend with a broken bike and stayed to help him". The mother said, "I didn't know you knew anything about fixing bikes". The boy told his mother, "I don't, but I stayed anyway and helped him cry".
Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy" (Matthew 5:7). All men with a true understanding of their position before God have this request - "Mercy, Lord". Jesus once told the story of a man who owed an enormous debt that he could not pay. In a great display of mercy his master forgave him his debt in it's entirety. After receiving this forgiveness he immediately went out and demanded payment from a fellow slave that owed him just a fraction of what he had owed his master. His master asked the man to whom he had showed compassion if he shouldn't have had mercy on his fellow slave, even as he had received mercy? (Matthew 18:33) The answer is obvious. His heart should have been softened. The trait of mercy, like the other beatitudes, is a trait that ought to characterize citizens of the kingdom of God.
Under the New Testament of Christ we have this promise from God, "I will be merciful to their iniquities...(Hebrews 8:12). Our sins are as enormous as the man's debt in the story that Jesus told in Matthew 18. We cannot possibly pay the debt. The only way out of our situation is the mercy of Christ which is extended through the gospel. Mercy is not meant to be a substitution for truth. If God's truth about sin being sin, and the absolute necessity of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, is established in our hearts, then and only then is mercy truly appreciated. Let us remember the words of the wise, "let not mercy and truth forsake you: bind them about your neck; write them upon the table of your heart" (Proverbs 3:3).
Whether it is someone's offence against us, or seeing someone in distress like the fallen man in the story of the good samaritan, when mercy is extended we act in a Christ-like manner. Through such actions, love, truth and the goodness of the gospel is communicated. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He said pray like this, "forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matthew 6:12). That statement is somewhat of a challenge and when given some serious reflection may be down right fearful. Let us determine that we shall approach this day in the spirit of mercy, realizing what we have received, and acting accordingly with all that we meet.
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Church News: The Blanco Church of Christ will have a congregational singing Wednesday night, September 30 at 7:00. The following Wednesday, our Bible study will continue in I Corinthians. On Friday mornings at 6:30am, there will be a short devotional with scripture reading and prayer in the Blanco Church of Christ fellowship hall. This is a good way to start the day - (Donuts and coffee available) - Everyone welcome.