The Fifth Beatitude

Matthew 5:7:"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."

This Beatitude that we're going to study this morning is: “'Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

This Beatitude, whether we realize it at the first glance is the remedy and the cure for all bitterness.
Whether the bitterness in the family, or whether it is in the fellowships, or whether in your own heart or in your mind.
And there are many that have these problems.

Many a brother’s relations have been broken by bitterness.
Many a brother’s and sister’s, and a man to a wife, a father to a son or daughter, or mother relationships
have been broken through bitterness.
For those who have that problem, this Beatitude is the message that will liberate them.

This is a great beatitude.
It is the statement of a principle which runs all through the New Testament.
The New Testament teaches that to be forgiven we must be forgiving.

James said in James 2:13: "For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy."
Jesus finishes the story of the unforgiving debtor with the warning:
"So also my heavenly Father will do to everyone of you; if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
(Matthew 18:35)

The Lord's Prayer is followed by two verses which explain and underline the petition,
"Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors".
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses
(Matthew 6:12,14,15)

It is the teaching of the New Testament that only the merciful shall receive mercy.

But there is even more to this beatitude than that.
The Greek word for merciful is "eleemon"
But, as we have repeatedly seen, the Greek of the New Testament as we possess it goes back
to an original Hebrew and Aramaic.
The Hebrew word for mercy is "checed".
This word is an untranslatable word.

It does not mean only to sympathize with a person in the popular sense of the term.
It does not mean simply to feel sorry for someone in trouble.
"Checed' mercy, means the ability to get right inside the other person's skin until we can see things
with his eyes, think things with his mind, and feel things with his feelings.

This is much more than an emotional wave of pity.
This demands a deliberate effort of the mind and of the will.
It denotes a sympathy which is not given, as it were, from outside, but which comes from a deliberate
identification with the other person, until we see things as he sees them, and feel things as he feels them.

This is sympathy in the literal sense of the word.
Sympathy is derived from two Greek words, "sun" which means together with,
and "paschein" which means to experience or to suffer.
Sympathy means experiencing things together with the other person, literally going through
what he is going through.

This is precisely what many people do not even try to do.
Most people are so concerned with their own feelings that they are not much concerned
with the feelings of anyone else.
When they are sorry for someone, it is, as it were, from the outside; they do not make the deliberate effort
to get inside the other person's mind and heart, until they see and feel things as he sees and feels them.

If we did make this deliberate attempt, and if we did achieve this identification with the other person,
it would obviously make a very great difference.

First, it would save us from being kind in the wrong way.

There is one outstanding example of insensitive and mistaken kindness in the New Testament.
We see this in the story of Jesus' visit to the house of Martha and Mary at Bethany. (Luke 10:38-42)
When Jesus paid them that visit, the Cross was only a few days ahead.
All that he wanted was an opportunity for so short a time to rest and to relax,
and to lay down the terrible tension of living.

Martha loved Jesus.
He was her most honored guest; and because she loved him she would provide the best meal
that she could afford.
She bustled and scurried here and there with the clatter of dishes and the clash of pans,
and every moment was torture to the tense nerves of Jesus.
All he wanted was quiet.

Martha meant to be kind, but she could hardly have been more cruel.
But Mary understood that Jesus wished only for peace.

So often when we wish to be kind the kindness has to be given in our way, and the other person
has to put up with it whether he likes it or not.
Our kindness would be doubly kind, and would be saved from much quite unintentional unkindness,
if we would only make the effort to get inside the other person.

Second, it would make forgiveness, and it would make tolerance so much easier.

There is one principle in life which we often forget -- there is always a reason why a person thinks and acts
as he does, and if we knew that reason, it would be so much easier to understand and to sympathize
and to forgive. If a person thinks.

And as we see it, mistakenly, he may have come through experiences, he may have a heritage
which has made him think as he does.
If a person is irritable and discourteous, he may be worried or he may be in pain.
If a person treats us badly, it may be because there is some idea in his mind which is quite mistaken.

It is as the French proverb has it, "To know all is to forgive all," but we will never know all until we make
the deliberate attempt to get inside the other person's mind and heart.

Third, in the last analysis, is not that what God did in Jesus Christ?
In Jesus Christ, in the most literal sense, God got inside the skin of men.

He came as a man.
He came seeing things with men's eyes, feeling things with men's feelings, thinking things with men's minds.
God knows what life is like, because God came right inside life.

Queen Victoria was a close friend of Principal and Mrs. Tulloch of St. Andrews.
Prince Albert died and Victoria was left alone.
Just at the same time Principal Tulloch died and Mrs. Tulloch was left alone.

An unannounced Queen Victoria came to call on Mrs. Tulloch when she was resting on a couch in her room.
When the Queen was announced, Mrs. Tulloch struggled to rise quickly from the couch and to curtsey.

The Queen. stepped forward: "My dear," she said, "don't rise. I am not coming to you today as the queen
to a subject, but as one woman who has lost her husband to another

That is just what God did; he came to men, not as the remote, detached, isolated, majestic God.
He came as a man.
The supreme instance of mercy, "checed", is the coming of God in Jesus Christ.

The mercy that God blesses is itself the blessing of God.
It grows up like fruit in a broken heart and a meek spirit and a soul that hungers and thirsts for God to be merciful.
Mercy comes from mercy.
Our mercy to each other comes from God's mercy to us.

The key to becoming a merciful person is to become a broken person.
You get the power to show mercy from the real feeling in your heart that you owe everything you are
and have to sheer divine mercy.

Therefore, if we want to become merciful people, it is imperative that we cultivate a view of God and ourselves
that helps us to say with all our heart that every joy and virtue and distress of our lives that we owe
to the free and undeserved mercy of God.

It is only those who show this mercy who will receive it.
This is true on the human side, for it is the great truth of life that in other people we see the reflection of ourselves.
If we are detached and disinterested in them, they will be detached and disinterested in us.
If they see that we care, their hearts will respond in caring.
It is supremely true on the divine side, for he who shows this mercy has become nothing less than like God.

So the translation of the fifth beatitude might read:

"O the bliss of the man who gets right inside other people, until he can see with their eyes,
think with their thoughts, feel with their feelings, for he who does that will find others do the same for him,
and will know that that is what God in Jesus Christ has done!"

This Concludes the Fifth Beatitude.