Monday, August 17, 2020

He Blesses the Merciful

 By: Joanne Viola


We continue looking at The Beatitudes this week with Jesus’ words:

“God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7, NLT)

Mercy can be defined as “a blessing that is an act of divine favor of compassion; the withholding of the punishment or judgment our sins deserve” (from The NLT Study Bible Dictionary).

At the heart of mercy is forgiveness. It is often confused with grace and the two are very much interwoven. Grace is a gift we don’t deserve, while mercy is not getting the punishment or judgment we did deserve.

The way we most often become merciful people is when we truly recognize the magnitude of the mercy we ourselves have received. It could be said that receiving mercy helps to mold us into being people of mercy.

Mercy seeks to alleviate suffering and moves us to be a people of compassion. No better example of this than in a story told by Jesus Himself in Luke 10.

Jesus, in talking with a religious expert, shares a parable of a Jewish man beaten and robbed while traveling. Stripped of his clothes and wounded, he is left on the side of the road, half dead.

A priest, traveling the same road, crosses to the other side to pass by the man. A Levite also does the same when he sees the man.

But a third man, a Samaritan, took pity on this man. He went to him, bandaged his wounds using oil and wine, and put him on his donkey. He brought him to an inn, where he continued to take care of him. When having to resume his own travels, he leaves money and asks the innkeeper to look after him.

Jews and Samaritans hated each other. No Jew would ever have expected to receive help from a Samaritan; and probably no Samaritan ever thought he would help a Jew who was wounded. The feelings were mutual.

Yet upon finishing His story, Jesus asks a question of the religious expert:  

“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?”
(Luke 10:36, NLT). 

The answer is interesting as he replied, “The one who showed him mercy” (verse 37).

Mercy, from the Greek word ‘eleos’, means “gracious compassion or kindness for someone in need. Mercy is different from kindness … while kindness can be to anyone, mercy is for those in need.” (New Testament Lexical Aids, The Key Word Bible)

Mercy is extended to anyone in need. It is not confined nor determined by race, nationality, or family.

Mercy changes us. Once the recipient of mercy, may we impart mercy to those around us. May we not forget the mercy given us.

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) (Ephesians 2:4-5, NLT)

May this become more than a story to us.
May we be a merciful people because of the mercy given to us.


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash 






  1. This is a beautiful post, Joanne, and it's true that when we grasp God's mercy towards us we are much more willing to extend mercy to others.

    1. Much appreciated, Leslie. May we never forget God's mercy towards us as it will motivate us to be merciful even when we think we cannot.

  2. Mercy and Grace - both beautiful but different - I can see how they get mixed up. This quote: while kindness can be to anyone, mercy is for those in need” - I am so glad He is merciful in my need - even before I realized how broken I was! Thank you, Joanne! ~ Maryleigh

    1. His mercy was moving towards me before I even knew how needy I truly was. I so want to be merciful as others may also not realize their need. May our actions always point them to the mercy of Jesus.

  3. Thank you for sharing these thoughts about mercy. That word has become so much more precious to me as I've walked through suffering. It is truly such a gift to be offered mercy, and it has become an even more precious gift to then extend mercy to someone else in need. May I listen to His leading there more. Blessings to you!


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