Blessed Are the Merciful

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Matthew 5:7

The Greek words that Jesus used for “merciful” and “mercy” in this beatitude come from the root words “eleemon” and “eleos.” Both words have the idea of “a person who is emotionally moved by another’s suffering and in some way shares in that person’s suffering.” That is what the Lord does for us.

Aristotle said of the merciful, “They are emotionally moved by what they see and hear and in some sense suffer.” 

Mercy is more than a feeling of kindness and a desire to care for someone. Mercy demands more than feelings. Mercy is action that helps the helpless. Mercy is compassion in action. 

Before you get tired of thinking of having to show mercy so often pause and reflect on the many times you have been shown mercy.

Mercy has not always been considered a virtue. Nero was typical of such people. He believed that mercy was an emotion resulting in action that men and women should not display. 

Polybius said, “Mercy is the morbid condition of souls that feel an excess of misery.”

A noteworthy Roman philosopher called mercy “the disease of the soul.” 

By way of contrast Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)

The immediacy of God’s mercy is expressed well in this poem by Katharine Tynan that depicts a person having been thrown from a horse who pleaded for mercy: “Was mercy sought and mercy found. Yea, in the twinkling of an eye, He cried; and Thou hast heard his cry. Betwixt the saddle and the ground Was mercy sought and mercy found.”

In regular language, “mercy” means being caring and compassionate toward people who are in a state of need. That’s a position we are all in relative to the Lord, all the time. 

We are, quite literally, at His mercy. Fortunately, the Lord is caring and compassionate to a degree we cannot fathom. He is the source of all caring and all compassion, and of love itself. So His mercy toward us never lessens, never abates, never ends; His whole purpose is to bring each of us, individually, to heaven. 

The zenith of mercy is found at the cross. There it is love on steroids. There  it is evident God saw our need and mercifully acted to meet it.

God’s mercy is reflected in the cross of Christ.. It is a direct reflection of His love for us. Mercy is an extension of and expression of love, “an act of kindness, compassion, or favor.” Mercy is a characteristic of the One True God.

Look for opportunities to show mercy today and every day. Remember, 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”