The Beatitudes: Blessed are the merciful
The Merciful —
The word mercy is from the Latin misericordia, a compound word with miserans meaning pain; and cordia meaning of the heart. Larousse defines mercy as: “the virtue of compassion toward other people’s wrongs; the virtue that compels us to pardon.” Vine says that mercy is “the external manifestation of the compassion.”
“Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy“ – Matthew 5:7
In Scripture we have an example that shows us what it means to be merciful. Indeed, the example is one cited by our Lord Jesus Christ— “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:33-37). The wise Solomon confirms what Christ said: “But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he” (Proverbs 14:21).
In Scripture we also have the opposite example of a man who refused mercy toward others. The Parable of the Unjust Servant is the story of a man who would not extend pardon toward a fellow servant. Consider these excerpts—
So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying,
Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.
And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.
Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you? —Matthew 18:23-35
Once again, we find similar words from Solomon: “The merciful man does good for his own soul, But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh” (Proverbs 11:17). James also reminds us: “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (2:13).
But mercy, not only is manifest in the helping of someone in need, but from a spiritual perspective, mercy is manifest in the preaching the gospel to save people who live in a spiritual misery. As Paul says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5). (Compare similar wording in Titus3:5). The description in Jude is especially telling— “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (23).
If we want God, our Father, to have mercy of us, we must have mercy on others—With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward” ( Psalms 18:25-26). Indeed, the apostle Paul confirms such by saying in Ephesians 4:32: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Let us ask of God that he help us grow in the virtue of mercy. If we treasure mercy in our hearts, there will be less hate, less wars, and less cries for vengeance among the those who are made in his image . And we will be blessed!
—Roberto V. Spencer