Lent 2019 – The Meaning of Discipleship

Matthew 5:7, “Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.”

As we face a new day together, we are given with another attribute from God, presented by Jesus in his “Sermon on the Mount” and verse 7 is one of eight blessings recounted in Matthew chapter five called, “The Beatitudes.” We, as believers are being asked to doing as Jesus did, and today that thing is “mercy” specially give mercy. Have you experienced mercy in your life? Chances are you have and I’m sure it was a huge relief when it happened. Have you ever been pulled over by a police office for a traffic violation and he or she only gave you a written warning or better yet a verbal warning? What a sigh of relief when those words were spoken! A ticket and a fine could have just as easily been handed out but mercy was shown and mercy for whatever reason, is mercy nonetheless. Have you ever heard or seen a court proceeding and the defendant requests “mercy” from the court?

Did you know that according to the simplified bible dictionary the word “mercy” appears 273 times in the KJV of the Bible. And, according to the Institute of Creation Research, the word appears some 341 times in the Bible and four Hebrew and three Greek words associated with mercy appear a total of 454 times and are also translated as “kindness,” “loving-kindness,” “goodness,” “favor,” “compassion,” and “pity.” Of the sixty-six books of the Bible, only sixteen do not use one of these words for mercy. This raw data tells me that mercy is important and God wants us to understand it and model in our relationships.

Doing as Jesus did is not an easy task to do nor is it even achievable given that Jesus was sinless and human, while also being divine. This fact should never deter us from trying or from modeling our behavior after his. Often we have people in our lives that we look up to and maybe even want to be like all the while knowing we can never truly be exactly like them but we still try, right? I remember as a kid, putting my mom or dads shoes on, although they were too big, I pretended to be them. I wanted to be like them. I would wear my dads coat or my moms jewelry, just to be like them. In many ways, we can do the same with Jesus…we can practice using kind words, being patient with others, sharing with those who have nothing, noticing the forgotten and marginal, speak truth and pray, to mention a few.

Today, let’s practice mercy. Mercy requires empathy, which is the ability to see ourselves in others. With mercy we must also have compassion, awareness and humility. Sometimes it can be truly difficult to see ourselves in the same situations as others, imagining making the same mistakes but we do. When we look beyond our own reflection in the mirror and allow our imperfections to ooze into the reflection from the edges, that we keep at bay through the beveled edges we created…our true image emerges. And then, doing as Jesus would do, you see the real true you…a child of God, in the image of God and loved, so very loved!

Each day as we continue this journey, we are growing and changing, we are refining ourselves and learning more about our personal discipleship and becoming more Christlike, thank you for traveling with me.

Micah 6:8, “ He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Breath Prayer: Merciful God,…help me see mercy.