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Mercy – The Fifth Step To Happiness

Matthew 5:7-5:7

Becoming Merciful – The Fifth Step To Happiness

We have been making a journey through a section of the scripture known as the beatitudes. The beatitudes are found in Matthew chapter five. All of them begin with the word “blessed.” Another word for blessed is happy. So as we have been making our way down through the beatitudes – we are finding steps to happiness.

If you will recall we have already looked at the first four steps to happiness. Humility was the first step to happiness. Repentance was the second step. Teachability was the third step. Starving for Righteousness was the fourth step. Today we are going to look at Becoming Merciful – The Fifth Step To Happiness. Please follow along with me as I read Matthew chapter five and verse seven:

“Blessed are the merciful, because they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 (HCSB)

Mercy and forgiveness go hand in hand. Mercy and forgiveness is what God demonstrates to the undeserving sinner. That undeserving sinner is us. Did you know that the manner in which you forgive people is the manner in which you will be forgiven? This is the law of sowing and reaping – you will reap what you sow. Look at what it says in The Lord’s prayer:

“And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.”
Matthew 6:12 (NKJV)

You are expected to show mercy and forgiveness. Jesus is saying in this “be” attitude that you get what you give. It’s the law of direct return. If your friendly with people – they will be friendly to you. If you show mercy to people they will show mercy to you. A definition of mercy is:

Mercy = love in ACTION.

How do you know if you are showing mercy – today we will look at four marks of mercy:

1. I’m merciful – if I’m patient with those are DIFFERENT from me.

I believe that in every life some nuts must fall. In every life there are people who are just plain peculiar. There are those whose elevator just doesn’t make it to the top floor. They’re a good egg – but they are just a little cracked. How do you handle these people? The Bible says:

“Warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NKJV)

How can you be patient with those who are different than you? One of the best ways to be patient with people is to: learn their background. When you understand where a person has come from you will be more patient with a person. Try to walk a mile in their shoes. Try to understand their hurts and struggles. Don’t be so quick to criticize or to judge. Merciful people are accepting people. They realize that hurtful people are hurting people. God wants us to be patient with everybody - even if they are different than us - even if they don’t see things the same way you do - even if they don’t act the just like you.

2. I’m merciful – if I forgive those who have FALLEN.

When people make mistakes do you hold it over their heads or do you forgive? If someone has hurt you – do you remember it every time you see the person and hold a grudge? Or do you treat the person as if it has never happened?

A few months back we had an interesting discussion in one of our Bible studies here at the church. We were considering the phrase “forgive and forget”. To tell you the truth – that phrase in not found in the Bible. I know that God forgives but I’m not sure that God forgets. God doesn’t have ’Holy Amnesia’. What God does have - is a forgiving heart. What He does do – when He forgives me – is that He treats me as if I had never done the wrong. He treats me as if I had never sinned. He acts in a way as if I had never done anything wrong. That is mercy. That is forgiveness. God knows exactly what I have done – He knows every detail – yet He treats me as if I had not done it. Look at what the Message Bible says in Colossians:

“Be quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 (MSG)

Merciful people are forgiving people. Merciful people forgive the fallen.

3. I’m merciful – if I help those who are HURTING.

The Bible tells us over and over again that we are to help those who are around us. Look at what Proverbs chapter three says:

“Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person.” Proverbs 3:27 (MSG)


Mercy = love in ACTION.

There are people all around us who are hurting. You hurt – I hurt – we all hurt sometimes. Mercy is helping hurting people. Do you remember the story of the Good Samaritan? There was a man who was mugged – thrown to the side of the road. Two guys walked by and said, “I can’t get involved. I’m sorry about what has happened – but I just can’t get involved. I have other things to take care of. I’m too busy to help anyone right now.” A third guy comes along – he was busy too – yet he took action. He picked up the man – took him to the Holiday Inn – left his American Express Gold Card to pay for the bill – said, “I’ll return later to see how things are going. When I come back – I’ll pay for it all!” This man showed love. This man showed mercy.

Christians did you know that you were going to be judged on the way that you have treated other people? In Matthew chapter twenty five it says:

“I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ’Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ’Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:35-40 (NKJV)

God’s going to ask you how you treated other people. God’s going to ask you if you helped the hurting. God’s going to ask you if your were merciful.

4. I’m merciful – if I do good to my ENEMIES.

Look at what it says in Luke chapter six:

“Love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36 (HCSB)

If you want to be like God – show mercy – even to those you don’t like. Do good to those who do evil to you. That’s exactly the opposite of what society says we should do. Society says – when people hurt you – hurt them back. Get even! Gossip about them, talk behind their back about them, destroy them, do anything you can to get even. But God says, “No! Be merciful just as I am merciful. Forgive just as I forgive.”

Tomorrow morning you go into work or to school. The guy who is constantly criticizing you is there – he is really a jerk – he is still being a jerk. The Bible says you are to show him mercy – you are to show mercy even to people who are jerks. How would it be that if each time he criticized you – you complimented him? That would blow his mind. That would set him off balance. That’s what being merciful is all about. You’re on the offense not the defense. You’re looking for ways to love your enemies. You’re looking for ways to be merciful instead of hateful.

Why? Because it is what God wants you to do. The best way to eliminate an enemy is to turn them into a friend. Smother them with kindness. They don’t know how to handle it. They don’t know what to do with it. All of a sudden your in control of the situation. You’re on the offensive not the defensive. Remember mercy is love in action.

So far we have looked at four marks of mercy – now we want to look at two reasons to show mercy:

A. Because God has been merciful to ME.

Someone has said:

"If our greatest need was for information, God would have sent an educator."

"If our greatest need was for technology, God would have sent a scientist."

"If our greatest need was for pleasure, God would have sent an entertainer."

"If our greatest need was for money God would have sent an economist."


God has shown mercy to us – we should show mercy to others. Remember what we read in Luke chapter six earlier – here it is again:

“Love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36 (NKJV)

God wants us to be like Him. In fact becoming a Christian is becoming like Christ. Becoming Godly is becoming like God.

God has shown us mercy that we can show mercy too. Here is a fact – Christian are not perfect – we are forgiven. Since we are forgiven we should be the most forgiving people around. We have been shown mercy – we should be the merciful people around. I ought to give out what I have received from God. God has given me love. I should love others. God has given me kindness. I should be kind to others. God has given me forgiveness. I should forgive others. God has given me mercy – I should show mercy to others – because that is what God has shown me.

A second reason that I should show mercy is:

B. Because showing mercy returns MERCY.

Look at our focus verse again:

“Blessed are the merciful, because they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 (HCSB)

Notice that there is a promise in this verse. The merciful – will be shown mercy. This is an example of “you reap what you sow.” What you give out is what you are going to get. Look at what the Message Bible says in Proverbs chapter eleven:

“When you’re kind to others, you help yourself; when you’re cruel to others, you hurt yourself. Bad work gets paid with a bad check; good work gets solid pay.” Proverbs 11:17-18 (MSG)

You ought to be a merciful person – simply because you reap what you sow. It’s a boomerang blessing. What you give – you get.

How do I become a merciful person? The starting point is that you must first experience the mercy of God. You cannot offer mercy to anyone until you have first received mercy. You can’t be a forgiving person unless you have been forgiven. The starting point is I must receive the mercy of God.

Jesus offers us mercy. Jesus offers us forgiveness. Jesus offers us peace. Come to Him – ask Him to come into you life and take control of your life. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins – ask Him to be you Savior - if you do that – He will give you forgiveness and He will give you mercy.

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