Goodness and Mercy
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“Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Ps 23:6 (NIV)
David writes words of hope here. After expressing God’s relationship with him (The Lord is my shepherd. . .) and the resultant feeling he has. (. . . I shall not want.)
“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy peace . . . goodness . . . Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
When we see someone acting for the betterment of others instead of themselves, we realize they are acting out of goodness. For example people who go out of their way to assist someone who has experienced a tragedy- a house fire, a sudden loss of a loved one.
“Blessed are the merciful for they will obtain mercy.” Matt. 5:7 (NKJV)
We used to hear the expression “Throw myself on the mercy of the court.” When someone said this, that person accepted what the court gave them.
My Sunday school teacher used to say, “The best way to have a friend is to be one.” We know everyone needs to have friends. Jesus tells us that the way to receive God’s favor is to extend mercy to others. People of this 21st Century call this process “Paying Forward.”
“Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter without neglecting the former.” Matt. 23:23
Jesus spoke words of warning to the teachers and the Pharisees. He points out their neglect of the major issues of a surrendered life. In the words of my Sunday school teacher, “They majored on the minors and minored on the majors.”
Justice can be a sticking point with us, even today. Mercy between people is not always evident in our world. Faithfulness has been tossed aside; across the board, we are a fickle people.
When we read of the Israelites and their unfaithful ways, we cannot point a finger at them or say ‘for shame’ as we study their history. As we study their history, we realize we have times where we are just as unholy as they were.
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure: then peace-loving, considerate, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17
James tells us wisdom from heaven is not mixed with hatred and has no traces of envy. One who loves as one of God’s children:
1.) Prefers peace over strife; always goes of the way to keep peace with others.
2.) Considers others better than himself or herself, thinks of others before thinking of themselves, thanks others for compliments.
3.) Withholds judgment on others-always giving them the benefit of the doubt, extends mercy to all-as best they can.
4.) Always fair-minded, wants what is best for a situation,
5.) Always the ‘real deal.’ Always transparent.
The word ‘sincere’ has an interesting background. It’s from the Latin and means ‘without wax’. May we all who follow Jesus Christ learn to be ‘without wax’ in the way we conduct ourselves in our daily lives.
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