Blessed Are the Merciful: For They Shall Obtain Mercy
I want to write about mercy through the lessons provided by family. God created family and the family structure to teach us about his relationship with us.
To a small child his parents gave him life itself; he has everything he has provided to him by his parents; food, shelter, clothing, playthings, protection and life itself.
This is exactly what God has done; everything we have is his gift to us.
First he created the universe, sun, stars and earth for us; then he made the animals and gave us our physical life. He also built into us as his gift the spirit of man and all the potential talents and abilities that raise us above the level of the brute beasts. God gave us the capacity to create things of awesome beauty and he then gave us the ultimate gift of the potential to become like our Father and receive eternal life!
To a very small child, his parents are a kind of God to him; providing everything including life itself, and as young children we learn from our parents our attitude towards authority. If our parents treat us as God teaches, then we develop a healthy and proper concept of God, but if they are brutal or permissive we tend to think of God as being harsh or permissive. In other words we internalize a certain attitude about God from how we are taught by our parents.
As parents we should be quick to forgive when a child has sincerely repented of an error. And when a child is obstinate in his fault, he must be taught patiently and, finally, as a last resort correction may need to be applied. That is how God deals with us, teaching us patiently and longsuffering until finally, if we are obstinate in our sins, God needs to correct us. Nevertheless, God is always eager to welcome the sincerely repentant child no matter what their sin; if their repentance is truly sincere. As parents we teach this proper relationship by always being ready to forgive, to receive and accept, and to express our wholehearted love of our child, just as God does for us.
When our child comes to us and is sorry for some error; it is not enough to say, alright you are forgiven. We need to embrace our child in our arms and make him KNOW that he has been forgiven and accepted and is LOVED.
That will spare him the guilt trips of conscience in adulthood; because he will understand what it means to be truly forgiven and accepted when he sincerely repents before God.
Mercy is the forgiveness of sincerely repented sin; and mercy begins at home.
Let me also say that if the Godly attribute of mercy and forgiveness were practiced in our marriages; there would be many fewer divorces.
Mercy is the opposite of pride, for pride exalts the self and mercy focuses on others.
We are not to judge by our own ways; but merely to point out what God says in his Word.
When we pray, and we should always pray over our problems; let us not ask for our own way; but that all involved may learn from the experience how to do and be better in the future. May each and every offense, far from bringing distress and anger; teach us to become more and more like our Beloved Father in heaven.
To despise others is not of God and is a self destructive cancer that turns to hate and eats us up spiritually and often emotionally and even physically. Hate drives out the Spirit of God.
The only way for us to be healed of hate is to go to God and repent of harboring that hatred, and to admit that even if the other was fully to blame; they may not have understood what they were doing; and then to ask God to fill you with his mercy and to help you to be forgiving.
Remember the most merciful words ever spoken:
Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Zechariah 13:6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
If the Father could give up his only Son for us; if Jesus Christ could give up his life for us while we were yet unrepentant sinners, then surely we can let God handle our issues instead of bearing grudges.
As human beings we are to be merciful and forgiving to both the repentant AND the unrepentant; and leave the disposition of things in the most capable hands of our Father and his Son.
Blessed Are the Merciful, For They Shall Obtain Mercy
Quite a few years ago I was traveling in my car with just my two small children; all of a sudden I heard a loud bang and then a thumping sound in the back end of the car. It was quite apparent that a tire had blown out, so I quickly pulled the car over to the shoulder of the expressway.
We owned a big old Cadillac at the time and I realized that I was in trouble, for there was no way I could jack up the car and change the tire by myself. I did not have a cell phone for they had not become readily available yet, so I could not call anyone to come and help me. I was stranded on the side of the expressway in the middle of a remote wilderness area with two small crying children in the back seat, and with no help in sight. I remember praying to God to please send help.
I got out of the car and thought I would at least try to get the spare out of the trunk and that maybe some kind family man with a wife and kids in the car would see me struggling to change the tire, feel compassion for my plight and would stop to offer help.
After I opened the trunk and had the tire half way out, a big Harley Davidson Motorcycle roared past. About 100 yards in front of my car it came to a screeching halt, turned around and came to where my car was parked on the side of the expressway and a huge burly looking man with long hair, a beard, and wearing a black leather jacket climbed off the motorcycle. My first impression was that he looked like he was a member of a motorcycle gang.
The man asked me what the problem was and I showed him the flat tire. He quietly and effortlessly took out the tire, jacked up the car, removed the flat tire and replaced it with the spare. He said something like “there you go, miss, you are all set.”
I was very grateful for his kind act that made it possible for me and my children to be on our way again. I wanted to pay him for his service so I reached for my purse and grabbed a twenty dollar bill and offered to pay him, but he just shook his head and said “You don’t owe me anything, but you can pay me back by doing the same someday when you come across someone who needs help, do what you can to help them.” Then he got on his motorcycle and drove away.
That is what God does for us; He shows mercy and compassion to us and then He tells us to go and show mercy and compassion to others just as He has done for us. God is our model of mercy, and we are to reflect His mercy in our actions toward others as well. Jesus tells us that our heavenly Father is merciful to all, so therefore we are to be merciful to others.
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain [shall be shown] mercy.
Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
The fifth Beatitude does not stand separate from the first four Beatitudes for they are like links in a chain with each Beatitude leading to the next phase of what comprises the whole character of the perfect man. The fifth Beatitude specifically addresses the fact that after receiving God’s mercy we are to extend that same kind of mercy in our dealings with others; we are to Be-Merciful ourselves just as God has been merciful to us. Here is a review of the Beatitudes that we have been studying in the past few weeks:
- First, we are to become poor in spirit, recognizing that we are nothing without God, that we are in need of His mercy continuously.
- Second, we then see the need to mourn over our sins and to seek God’s forgiveness, and if we do we will be comforted.
- Third, we realize our need to be meek; to be humble and remain teachable.
- Fourth, the previous attributes bring us to where we long desperately to be like God and we thirst and hunger after His righteousness.
- The fifth Beatitude states that those who are merciful [toward others], will be blessed [happy, favored] and they in turn will receive mercy from God. The reward for being merciful is to be shown mercy. When we show kindness and have a readiness to forgive those who trespass against us, we will be greatly blessed for we will receive compassion and forgiveness in return by God just as Psalm 18 shows: “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful” (Psalm 18:25).
The Greek word for “merciful” in Matthew 5:7 is eleémón (Strong’s # 1655) and means: to be full of pity, merciful, compassionate, show mercy. (Strong’s Concordance)
To have mercy is to show compassion; to have empathy for other people who are struggling; it is the ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes and to know what they are feeling, what they are going through. A merciful person intrinsically, from the heart, wants to help others when they are in trouble or are facing hard trials for he has compassion for them. If we are merciful, we are able to feel another person’s pain and the compassion we have for them motivates us to want to alleviate their pain or at least offer them comfort. To have mercy is to have compassion and empathy for those who are hurting.
Here are the English definitions of empathy and compassion:
“Empathy means (1) we can understand and we share another person’s experiences and emotions: it is the ability to share someone else’s feelings (2) the action or the capacity of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.” (From the Merriam Webster Dictionary: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empathy)
“The definition of “compassion” is: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” (Dictionary.com)
Jesus as a man here on earth had profound compassion for people and He was moved to alleviate suffering whenever He encountered those who were in need of healing or deliverance. Out of His great mercy He performed miracles for those where were hurting wherever He encounter those who were sick or oppressed.
Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Matthew 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
In essence, feeling empathy and having compassion means experiencing things together with the other person, sensing in your own heart what that person is going through and then joining him in his sorrow and heartache. “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15).
The Parable of the good Samaritan is an example of someone who showed mercy toward a man who had been beaten, wounded badly by thieves, and left for dead. The good Samaritan did what he could to alleviate the hurting man’s suffering out of his compassion for him.
A lesson we can learn from this Parable is that the Samaritan was not concerned whether the wounded man was of his own country or race. The only thing that mattered was that this person needed an act of mercy performed for him to save him from his desperate and helpless plight. (This is also an allegory of what Christ does for us.)
Luke 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 10:34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 10:35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 10:36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 10:37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Being merciful also means to be willing to forgive those who sin against us just as God shows mercy to us and forgives us of all of our sins. Jesus teaches that we are to freely forgive someone when they offend or hurt us.
Matthew 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Showing mercy is a choice we make through a decision of our will motivated by our desire to obey God and wanting to follow in His steps and to be like Him. If God’s Spirit is dwelling within us, the spirit of mercy and the readiness to quickly forgive others will be evidenced as we yield to His Spirit.
The parable of the unforgiving servant is a vivid illustration of what it means to be given much in the way of forgiveness and then being unwilling to forgive others.
Matthew 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 18:24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 18:25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 18:28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
18:29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 18:30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 18:31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
18:32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 18:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
Jesus expanded even more on the subject of mercy and the forgiveness aspect of what it means to be merciful later on in His Sermon on the Mount. The concept of “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy” is brought up again in chapter 6 only worded in a somewhat different way and then Jesus adds what happens when we are not merciful or forgiving; He says that if we refuse to forgive others then God the Father will not forgive us.
Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
The apostle Paul instructs us how we must put off the old man and replace it by putting on the new man; the things we are to put on are bowels of mercies (hearts that are merciful), kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.
All of these tings are components of mercy and then he reminds us of the principle that Christ taught His disciples: that we must forgive one another….even as Christ had forgiven us.
Colossians 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
God tells us through Micah that we are to love mercy in combination with being just and walking in humility. This is a requirement; it is commanded for those called to follow Christ, to be merciful and to be humble.
Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Later in the book, Micah praises God for the fact that He is a God of mercy. Micah asks a rhetorical question: Who else is like God in mercy? for God delights to show His mercy to His people by pardoning their iniquities and not only that, but He casts all of their forgiven sins far away, just as Micah paints a picture for us of God casting away our sins into the very depths of the sea once we have repented of those sins.
This promise is very comforting, to know that God is a merciful God and that He remembers our sins no more when we seek His forgiveness for our sins and are sincerely repentant and commit to “go and sin no more”.
Micah 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. 7:20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
God is Our Example: We Are To Be Like God Who is a Merciful God
Exodus 32:7 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
After the incident with the Israelites worshiping the golden calf, Moses became discouraged with the people, and he went and prayed to God about his feelings ( Exodus 32:31).
Exodus 32:30 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. 32:31 And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. 32:32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
This section is about the subject of forgiveness and mercy of the people. Because of Moses’ despair over the actions of the Israelites, he to goes to God to express his thoughts and feelings which then leads to Moses praying to God to show him His glory. God grants his request by passing by him and instead of showing Himself in all of His spiritual glory, He proclaims to Moses what He is all about, what His attributes are; that He is a God of Goodness, Lovingkindness, and Mercy. When we put the pieces together this is very fascinating!
Exodus 33:13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
Moses then made a most unusual request of God: He asked God if he could be shown His glory, “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.” (Exodus 33:18)
Amazingly, the Lord [the One who would become Jesus Christ] granted him his request. God said He would do as Moses asked because Moses had found grace in His sight. Moses walked closely with God and had come to know Him; he had developed a close intimate relationship with God and God wanted to reveal to Moses even more dramatically what He was about as far as His Character and how he was to view Him (this is a lesson for us as well).
Exodus 33:17 And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 33:18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 33:21 And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 33:22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 33:23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
The Hebrew word for “glory” in verse 18 is kabod (Strong’s #3519b) and means gloriously, glory, honorable, the meaning conveys the idea of weight, significance, richness, importance, splendor or copiousness (abundance) ( from kabad or kabed: Strong’s #3513). (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
God told Moses that in order for Him to fulfill his request, He would have to hide Moses in a cleft of a rock, for no man can see God (in all of His glorious state) and live. What God did for Moses is profound, for Moses asked God to show Himself so that he could see Him in His glorious state. We know of no other of God’s servants that had been given this privilege before, for nowhere is it recorded in the Bible that a person saw or talked with God and had to be hidden in the cleft of a rock for protection from the glory of His presence and told that he couldn’t look upon His face.
How then did God manifest His glory to Moses? Was there anything spectacular that happened when He appeared on that day? The Bible does not say.
Moses had witnessed God’s power many times and had even been used as God’s instrument in performing mighty miracles in Egypt and in the parting of the Red Sea. He had seen the fire by night and the cloud by day and then the great Shekanah lighting upon Mount Sinai when God came down to give the people of Israel the ten commandments; he saw and heard great lightnings, thunder, and the sound of a great trumpet.
The Bible says that in this instance in answer to Moses request, the Lord descended in a cloud and stood with Moses and then God’s GOODNESS passed by Moses and at the same time God proclaimed His name and what His name stands for.
Exodus 34:5 And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 34:6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the [unrepentant] guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
From this we see that God’s way of revealing His glory to Moses at his request was the proclaiming of His NAME which stands for His divine nature, His character and His attributes. The aspect of God’s GLORY that the Lord wanted to convey to Moses more than anything at that particular time was the fact that God is merciful and gracious, He is patient, and He is abundant in goodness and in truth.
God pronounces His NAME in Moses’ hearing, then PROCLAIMS what His name means. His name attests to the characteristics that He possesses and these were the things that He wanted Moses to know of Him; that He is “merciful and gracious, is long-suffering and full of goodness and truth”; these are His divine attributes, these are the things that He is about and what make up God’s eternal character and His majesty. These things are what characterize the Eternal God in combination with His great majesty and glory, and these things are everlasting, He will never change.
God revealed His glory (and His merciful attributes) to Moses just after the incident with the golden calf when the children of Israel sinned grievously against God. He punished them severely but He did not wipe them out entirely and He continued to work with them and to take their children to the Promised Land. God continued to be merciful to His people even after they had showed themselves to be a rebellious and stiffnecked people.
Exodus 32:33 And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. 32:34 Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. 32:35 And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.
In the beginning of the account of the Exodus we are given some insights as to the kind of man that Moses was. It was out of compassion and mercy for a fellow Israelite that Moses killed an Egyptian task master. As horrible as murder is, the intent of Moses’ heart in doing what he did was because he felt sorry for his countrymen, and when he came upon one of his own that was being whipped mercilessly, he took things into his own hands to save him.
Exodus 2:11 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12:12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
As a result, Moses had to flee to Midian to save his own life from Pharaoh and then spent 40 years in the desert tending Reuel’s (his father-in-law), flock of sheep.
Exodus 2:21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. 2:22 And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.
It was about this time that God took note of and heard the groaning of His people.
God was about to keep His covenant that He had made with Abraham but it was also because of God’s merciful kindness that He wanted to deliver the children of Israel from the cruel bondage of the Egyptian Pharaoh. Of course, God knows the end from the beginning so all of this was part of His great plan.
Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Exodus 2:23 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. 2:24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 2:25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.
The Hebrew word for “respect unto them” is yada (Strong’s # 3045) and means “to know”. (Strong’s Concordance)
God looked down and saw the hard bondage of the children of Israel in Egypt and He “had respect unto them” or He knew [was aware] what they were going through and acknowledged their suffering. He knew it was time to show mercy on them according to the covenant He had made with Abraham. His next step was to call a man that would be a merciful and compassionate leader and be the human instrument by which He would draw His people out of Egypt and take them through the wilderness to the Promised Land. For this difficult and challenging job, God had been preparing Moses all along.
One day Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flock and came to the mountain of Horeb. That is where God called to Moses from a burning bush and told him what he wanted him to do.
Exodus 3:4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 3:5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 3:6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. 3:7 And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 3:8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 3:9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 3:10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
It was Moses whom God chose to go to Pharaoh and to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt. One of the things that Moses wanted to know was what name he should use in telling the children of Israel of the God who had sent him to them. And God told Moses that he should say to them,”I AM has sent me unto you, the God of their fathers; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” But nothing is written here of God giving them an in-depth description of who He was and what He was really like.
Exodus 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. 3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
God did give Moses an indication of His compassion for the children of Israel, for He said that He had seen their plight and what the Egyptians were doing to them.
Exodus 3:16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:
The Lord sent Moses to deliver Israel without giving him a full explanation of who He was at that time. As far as His name, the Lord merely told him, “Go, and say ‘I AM’ has sent you”.
It was later, after many things had transpired and Moses had to put up with of all the murmurings and rebelliousness of the people; that Moses made his request to see the glory of God. This desire to see the Lord shows us that Moses wanted to know more about Him and to have an even deeper understanding of God’s true nature for he may have been deeply intrigued as to all the things that had happened so far.
God had shown much mercy on this small and insignificant nation of Israel by delivering these people from slavery; and even in their rebelliousness, God had shown longsuffering and was still keeping His promise to take them to the Promised Land.
Moses had an intense yearning to know more of who the great “I AM” was and perhaps he was expecting a spectacular display of His power again; the Bible does not say. This desire to really know God and to know His character may have been what prompted Moses to request of the Lord to show him His glory.
The Lord Himself defined His glory to Moses in this incident by proclaiming that He is the Lord, a God who is gracious, merciful and longsuffering.
We, too, can ask God to reveal to us His Glory, and we can pray that He would reveal His character even better, just as Moses made request of the Lord. In our quest to come to know God on an even closer level we can ask Him to reveal to us who He is and what He is about and to help us to know even more of Him. God showed His glory of who He is to Moses by proclaiming to Moses that He is a MERCIFUL and LONGSUFFERING God.
For those who are called, God makes it possible for every child of His to see and understand God’s glory as reflected in His merciful, gracious, longsuffering nature in the person of Jesus Christ His Son. When Jesus was here on earth as a man, He was a revelation to mankind (the expressed image) of all God’s attributes including all the things that were declared to Moses as God passed by him and proclaimed His goodness. And we come to know Jesus as we read His words proclaimed to us when we diligently search out the Scriptures and obey what He says.
God reveals His nature through His Holy Word and by the power of His Holy Spirit to those who seek to draw near to Him and who obey all His commandments. We must ask and seek with all of our hearts to know Him more fully and if we do, God promises that He will reward our zeal and devotion to Him by allowing us to come to know Him more and to reveal to us His truth and plan of salvation.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 29:12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Just as Moses saw and heard the glory of God when He sincerely asked to be shown it, we, too, as the called out can be given revelation of what God is like when we read and study His Word and then pray and ask Him for more understanding.
To experience the glory of God is not some kind of ecstatic speaking in tongues, or of a variety of manifestations of supernatural phenomenon that the false religions of this world teach. Rather, God’s glory is a revelation of His nature and attributes, including His great MERCY that He has for His children and for all mankind.
It is important to understand the Beatitudes, including how to be merciful as God is merciful, if we want to come to know Him more fully and as we seek to grow into His spiritual image.
When the Lord shows us of His glory, it is a revelation of how He wants to be known by His children. When God calls us, He is revealing Himself to us, what He is really like and He makes known to us His wonderful Plan and Purpose for mankind.
When God calls people to come and follow Him, He opens their eyes so that they can begin to understand Him even more and God expects them to seek to have His divine nature imparted to them, internalizing His character traits and to make those character traits their own.
God only reveals Himself to those whom He is calling and who have committed to follow Him withersoever He goes and He has a purpose for doing so. To have as our goal: to grow into the mind of God and to be made into His image, we need to have a vision, of who He is. As in Moses’ case, so it is with those whom He is calling now; it is that we might be changed into the things we are coming to understand about Him.
He alone is God; and He is a GRACIOUS, MERCIFUL and RIGHTEOUS God and that is what He wants to be known as. And if we are in the process of becoming like Him, made into His image, then we, too, will grow in the attributes of His mercy and righteousness. The Sermon of the Mount including the Beatitudes teaches us how we are to become like Him.
Jesus states in the fifth Beatitude that those who are merciful are “blessed”. God is a God of mercy and He wants children who are merciful as well.
In the book of Hebrews we are told that Jesus is the express image of God the Father; and in the Gospel of John, Jesus told Phillip that “if you have seen Him (Jesus) you have seen the Father”.
Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
John 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, came to earth as a human man to reveal His Father’s merciful gracious lovingkindess; He is the express image of who the Father is, therefore, He desires that we, too, see what the Father is like by coming to know Himself [Jesus]. When we come to know Christ it is for the purpose that we then become the express image of Jesus Christ just as He is an expression of His Father.
The Beatitudes hold up a mental picture for us of what God’s called-out perfect man looks like. When we come to visualize the glory of God and all His attributes, that then becomes our goal and with the help of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within us, it has the power to revolutionize our lives from our human nature full of carnality, into the divine image of our Father who is very merciful indeed!
Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Jesus taught all those who would become His followers in His Sermon on the Mount, that blessed are those who are merciful. This is one of the things we must become if we want to be perfect as God the Father and Jesus Christ are perfect, for without mercy we will not see the Kingdom of God.
As we overcome our human nature in our walk with Christ and we are growing in Him, we will receive more and more revelation of God’s glory, which is His love, mercy, grace, longsuffering and readiness to forgive those who are repentant.
As we grow in God’s Spirit, asking Him for more of His attributes and of the fruits of the Spirit and as we are wholeheartedly seeking to obey Him from the heart, God will continue to open our eyes to the immensity of His love and mercy, and in this way we get to know Him even better, which is what He desires for us. The more we know Him for who He is, the more we will be able to reflect Him.
This is what the apostle Paul meant when he said that the people in the world have a veil over their spiritual eyes and cannot see or understand the things of God.
But when God calls us and gives us His Holy Spirit, He takes the cover off and as we get to know Him through talking to Him, studying and internalizing His Word, meditating upon it and applying it to our lives; we behold Him for what He is and in the beholding and seeking to be like Him, we are being changed into His glory.
2 Corinthians 3:15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 3:16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul prays for his brethren; that they all would have this revealing of who Christ is more clearly by the power of God’s Holy Spirit and to have their eyes opened to the knowledge of Him and to understand His truth and attributes more fully.
Ephesians 1:16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
God wants us to see and understand how merciful He is and that He is a loving and a forgiving God. Besides His magnificence and great power, mercy also makes for His glory. He revealed His plan to send the Messiah just after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden and made provision for all mankind to reverse the curse that He placed on humanity if they repent and return to Him. He will give all mankind the opportunity to repent of their rebellion against Him by calling them; all will have the veil of deception taken from his or her heart, each in their own time as appointed by God.
Our Merciful God has a Plan for all humanity and the events of the Israelites coming out of bondage to Egypt is an object lesson of what He is doing in His present day Ekklesia, which is a type of spiritual children of Israel coming out of spiritual bondage to sin and the Pharaoh (Satan) of this age.
God’s Very Throne is Called the Seat of Mercy
In Exodus God commanded Moses to make a portable tabernacle that was to be used as a place of sacrifice and worship by the Israelites from the time of their wandering in the wilderness after the Exodus from Egypt to the building of the temple in Jerusalem (see Exodus 25-27). It was also to be the place that represented God’s presence.
At the same time God told Moses to make the Ark of the Covenant (a golden plated chest) in which he was to place the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. Also within the ark were placed the golden pot of manna, such as was provided by God in the wilderness wanderings (Exodus 16:4) and Aaron’s almond rod (Numbers 17:1-13). On top of the ark was a lid, and on each end of the lid were two cherubim made of fine gold facing each other as a covering for the area called the mercy seat. The lid, or “mercy seat” represented God’s throne which is called the seat of mercy.
Exodus 25:16 And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. 25:17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. 25:18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. 25:19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. 25:20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. 25:21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. 25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
The Israelites transported the ark containing the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments wherever they journeyed in the wilderness. The ark was kept in the inner area called the Holy of Holies where God symbolically resided, first in the Tabernacle and later it was placed in the inner area of Solomon’s Temple also called the Holy of Holies.
The mercy seat symbolizes God’s throne from which He judges; its very name reflects the basic nature of His judgments, signifying that His judgment always rest on and reflect His mercy.
This in no way means that God overlooks sin or is tolerant of sin in His judgment of men, but it shows us that it is God’s nature to be merciful rather than harsh and vengeful. His judgments are always based on His merciful nature and He alone can know a person’s heart, unlike men whose judgment is often flawed and biased and based on outward appearances. God’s judgments always contain a perfect balance of justice and mercy and He takes many factors into consideration when He judges.
Though God mercifully forgives a repentant sinner, the sinner still must face the painful consequences of his sin to a greater or lesser degree and even that is based on God’s mercy according to what He knows is best for that person.
God is merciful, and in His judgments God is fair and He will do whatever is necessary to bring a person to repentance if it is possible either in this age, the Millennium or the Main Fall Harvest of Humanity. In the current world we live in, man’s judgments can be varied, unpredictable, and often harsh and unyielding; but God’s judgments, tending toward mercy, will always be perfect.
Isaiah 11:2 And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; 11:3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 11:4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
Paul in his letter to the Hebrews expounds upon the pattern or the construction of the tabernacle of the Old Testament.
Hebrews 9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 9:5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
The Greek word for “mercy seat” in Hebrews 9:5 is hilasterion, (Stong’s #2435) which means: “propitiatory” “that which makes expiation” or “propitiation.”
Definition: (a) a sin offering, by which the wrath of the deity shall be appeased; a means of propitiation, (b) the covering of the ark, which was sprinkled with the atoning blood on the Day of Atonement. (Strong’s Concordance)
What does the physical mercy seat point to? In the New Testament, Christ Himself is designated as our “propitiation.” Paul explains this in his letter to the Romans:
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Paul is explaining here that Jesus is the covering for sin, as symbolized in the Old Testament and it is by means of His death and our response to Him through our faith in His atoning sacrifice, and then sincerely repenting of our sins, that those sins are covered.
And as the apostle John tells us whenever we do sin, we may turn to Christ who continues to be the propitiation or covering for our sins. This ties together the Old and New Testament concepts regarding the covering of sin as exemplified by the mercy-seat of God.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
For further study on the Mercy Seat see: Exodus 25:17; 18-22,34; 30:6; 31:17; 35:12; 37:6-9; 39:35; 40:20; Leviticus 16:2; 16:13-15; Numbers 7:89; 1st Chronicles 28:11
God is Righteousness and Justice therefore He cannot and does not wink at sin; He is a God of Wrath toward all those who are willfully rebellious; but even then He corrects people out of love for them that by the affliction of their flesh they would be motivated to seek out His forgiveness and be saved at some point, whether in this age, or the ages to come.
God will destroy forever all who refuse to repent for they only bring misery on themselves and on those who do desire to walk in all of the ways of God; and the elimination of all those who refuse to repent, is also a part of God’s great mercy!
But for all those who sincerely repent; who want to know God’s glory and to learn about Him so that they can become like Him, He will shower upon them His mercy and do everything possible for them to make it into His kingdom. Jesus tells His people to “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
God’s nature is all about LOVE and MERCY. Everything He plans and does is because of His great mercy.
In the following passage the apostle Paul is beseeching God’s people to seek this revelation of who God is, to come to a full understanding of His nature and His character until it becomes so real to them that they become anchored (rooted and grounded) in His LOVE which is so very much manifested by His mercy and longsuffering and readiness to forgive the repentant.
Paul longed greatly that his brethren would keep seeking to know God, to study, learn, meditate, think upon what they were learning and to imitate God in all things. As our Great God is merciful, gracious, and abounds in loving- kindnesses, so, we, who are being made into His spiritual image, must cultivate these things into our very nature as well.
Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
The more we seek God and follow after Him, the more He will reveal to us what He wants us to be like. God’s nature (including His merciful nature) will become a part of those who are striving to live for Him and by abiding in Him.
The more we spend time with Him in His presence, the more we will begin to reflect His mind and His nature and we will continue to change from glory to glory: from being carnal human beings and lacking in mercy, to becoming merciful and longsuffering as He is.
When Moses saw and heard the revelation of God’s name and His nature he was in awe and the experience overwhelmed him. He combined what he had heard God say that day with what he had seen in the wanderings in the wilderness; how merciful, long-suffering and patient God was with the children of Israel; even though they were a stiff-necked group of people, idolaters, and often murmured against what God was doing. Moses was so stirred by this revelation, that he quickly got off of the rock, ran and fell down and worshiped his great Mighty Merciful Creator!
Exodus 34:8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
As Moses worshiped, this is what he prayed, not only for himself but also for the nation that the Lord had commissioned him to lead.
Exodus 34:9 And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.
God answered by giving His promise that if the people would honor Him and do all of His commandments and not go after the gods of the surrounding nations, He would be with them, cast out their enemies and do great marvels.
Just as God made this promise to Moses and the people of his day, God does not change and He will do this for His modern day spiritual children as well. And eventually all of mankind will come to see the goodness and mercy of God as His great and marvelous Plan unfolds in the coming years and millennials to come.
Exodus 34:10 And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee. 34:11 Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
34:12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: 34:13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
Those of us who are the call out, the spiritual Israel of God who are being shaped and fashioned to be in God’s image have received an incredible amount of God’s mercy and lovingkindness. He has called us to come out of this world and to put Him first above all else. And if we will do that, then He promises that He will drive out our enemies and deliver us from evil and the evil ones (represented by the heathen nations of Canaan).
We have been given so much mercy, that one way we show our gratefulness for that mercy is to be merciful to others, just as the fifth Beatitude commands us.
And if we continue to seek God’s glory and to glorify Him with our lives, enduring to the end, whatever Moses experienced in his encounter with God’s glory that day is only a fraction of what is going to be experienced by those who are raised and transformed to spirit; it will then be possible to see Jesus face to face in all of His full glory. Human language is simply too limited to express what it is going to be like!
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
The apostle John tells us that some day we shall see Jesus face to face, (the same Jesus who revealed Himself to Moses in the wilderness) and not only that but we will also be like Him. And if He is a God that is merciful, gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth, these are the things we must be growing in if our goal is to become like Jesus; to have the mind He has and to be made in His image. This is the perfect man that the Sermon on the Mount tells us that we must become if we want to be like our Father in heaven.
The Person that showed His glory to Moses was Jesus Christ for we are told in the New Testament that the Rock that was with the Israelites in the wilderness and providing for them was Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Jesus is the epitome of what it means to be good and merciful, He is our example and to be merciful as He is merciful must be our goal in this life.
1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
The world we live in is far from merciful, and we are influenced in the ways of the world even from birth and humans do not even come close to the mercy that is in Jesus Christ and God the Father. The world for the most part does not have mercy, for Satan is the god of this world and he has no mercy or compassion for mankind. Most of the world is tapped into his spirit of pride and self-centerdness.
If all people and all the nations of the world were merciful, there would be forgiveness and compassion manifested throughout the world. Instead we have murder, wars, crime, adultery, divorce, domestic violence, child abuse and every kind of evil perpetuated against each other.
If we really tried to treat each person the way we would want to be treated, and more importantly, how God would want us to treat each other with mercy, then the world would be a beautiful, peaceful place for all mankind to live, work, have families, and to enjoy all that life has to offer without fear of what others would do to us.
We know this is not going to happen here on earth before Christ’s return but as God’s firstfruits we are supposed to be the pioneers of what it means to be merciful, kind, and good. We are not to be as the rulers of this world but God is teaching us a much better way.
As part of molding us into the kind of leaders God will have us to be, we, as members of God’s body, are to show mercy for each other; and when we become aware of the needs of our brothers and sisters we are to do what we can to alleviate their suffering.
God calls upon us as His children to help His other children when they are in need whenever we have the opportunity, not only as a perfunctory duty, but with compassion and mercy from the heart.
Growing up in this world has a tendency to harden us. There is so much cruelty and bullying and just lack of common courtesy in our society today, that we are reminded of the warning of what it will be like in the end times. The apostle Paul predicted what it would be in the latter days and we see it all around us and it is only getting worse.
2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
This is the opposite of mercy and we must not follow in the ways of this world but we are called to be a stark contrast to how the people of the world operate.
Mercy and kindness is something that we must grow in and develop, and we are called to grow in those areas for God has already enabled us to do so by His Holy Spirit.
God’s people, as lights to the world, must show a better way by being merciful even as we live in a dark and merciless world around us. We must follow the example of Jesus when He was here on earth; who was compassionate and kind to everyone that crossed His path. When He had to rebuke certain people, He did so by speaking the truth in love and it was always for their good and the good of others.
God provides us with His help, through the power of His Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and if we are abiding in His presence and letting His attributes flow through us as a branch in the vine (John 15:5), and by seeking (hungering and thirsting) after His righteousness and holiness, His mercy will be imparted to us.
Jesus tells us that if we are to be the salt of the earth and to be lights of the world, we must shine His attributes, including the Beatitude of mercy before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. We are to be perfect [complete] in this Beatitude of mercy also, even as our Father is perfect and showers His mercy upon all of mankind.
As God’s children, to be merciful as Christ is merciful, is our assignment as is shown by the fifth Beatitude, to exemplify to the world around us what it means to be merciful.
Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Having a compassionate and merciful disposition is an important factor toward making an effective witness to those around us (as individuals and also as the collective body of Christ) and as we show the attributes that are part of God’s character, others will come to see the Holy Spirit in action among those called to be merciful as their Father in heaven is merciful.
Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
God Forgives Our Sins Only If We Forgive Others
What does it mean when Jesus says in His outline prayer in Matthew 6?
Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
God forgives us not because we deserve mercy by being merciful toward others, but because we cannot receive the mercy and forgiveness of God unless we have sincerely repented ourselves. And since God commands us to forgive one another, to refuse to do so is sin.
God cannot have mercy on someone who shows no mercy for others, for it shows that that person has not really repented; for willfully withholding mercy and forgiveness is a sin. It is the ones that acknowledge their sins, repent and ask for forgiveness that God has mercy on; and the willingness to go and sin no more is fruit that that person truly did repent. Unforgiveness toward others on our part shows that we are not really repentant ourselves. If we refuse to show mercy to others it shows that we are not genuinely repentant and God cannot forgive us until we acknowledge our sin and repent of those sins.
Not only that, but if we are unwilling to forgive others, the unforgiveness will eventually harden our hearts toward the one we refuse to forgive and will manifest as hard feelings, hatred, and holding on to grudges which could lead to a desire to seek revenge against the offending party. From these sins a root of bitterness can begin to set in. Those things are not the fruits of a converted mind or someone that has turned from his sins. If we forgive immediately, showing mercy to those when they wrong us, we reflect the nature of God and will avoid any kind of bitterness which will ultimately hurt ourselves and others.
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
We cannot in all sincerity say that we have repented of our sins if we remain unkind to any person by our thoughts, words, or actions; or are unwilling to be merciful towards the sins of others.
A truly converted person is acutely aware of his own weakness and failings which in turn tends to help him to be merciful when others fail or are weak. He will then be hesitant to condemn others when they sin or have weaknesses. We are not to tolerate the willful sins of others nor allow those who are openly sinning into our assemblies, but even so, we need to deal kindly as Christ would have us to treat them as He teaches further down in His Sermon on the Mount, for we are to show mercy even to our enemies.
Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
When we were first called to be a part of God’s family, one of the first things that happened, was that God showed us of our need for His forgiveness and atoning sacrifice to cover our past sins; we became repentant, confessed our sins, and experienced for ourselves God’s gracious mercy toward us.
When we think of how God has forgiven us of all of our sins, it compels us to then forgive others as He has forgiven us. And if we are not showing this kind of mercy to others, as Christ has shown mercy to us, then we need to ask God to give us more of the virtue of mercy as part of our character and strive to grow in this area, as only the merciful will be in God’s Kingdom.
It is ludicrous to even imagine that God would appoint saints to rule and to be priests in His kingdom who are unforgiving and cruel in their treatment of people.
When we were first called, all of us as sinful individuals needed an abundance of God’s mercy. We experienced God’s mercy very dramatically at that time and going forward from there, we still are continuously receiving His mercy on a day to day basis.
So as recipients of so much mercy from Him, we in turn must recognize that fact, and in turn show the same kind of mercy to others. David understood this principle when he praised God for His attribute of mercy toward men.
Psalm 18:25 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful;….
Remembering that God’s has lavished His abundant mercy on us, will help us to be ever ready to show mercy to others. If we become complacent of what it took on Jesus’ part to make the forgiveness of our sins possible, we are tempted to forget to be grateful for that mercy.
When we are not grateful for God’s mercy we will tend to focus on ourselves and what we perceive as missing in our lives, everything then centers on ourselves and not on God and His goodness.
But the person that knows how much God has done for him in the way of His merciful kindness is more apt to be more sensitive to the needs of others and will want to show them mercy. The more we experience God’s mercy and realize just how much He has forgiven us, we then in appreciation desire to extend the mercy and kindness that God has showered on us to others.
The woman who was a sinner is a touching example of showing love and compassion to Jesus in washing His feet with her tears and hair and anointing them with fragrant oil; full of gratitude for the fact that her Lord and Savior had been so exceedingly merciful and compassionate to her; she is an excellent example of one who loved much because she recognized that God loved her much and had showed her much mercy and compassion. (Luke 7:36-48)
Even after our initial conversion, we still need God’s forgiveness constantly as we make mistakes, learn new things, come to a deeper understanding of things we thought we knew, and as God reveals to us deeply embedded things that we may have never addressed before that are wrong.
Once God calls us we are involved a lifelong struggle of overcoming our sinful nature and resisting Satan’s influence on our hearts and minds. God is not only merciful in forgiving us of our sins but He pours out His mercy in providing us with the physical and spiritual things we need to make it through this life.
This awareness fills us with awe for Him and keeps us grateful. When we are made aware of all the good things that God has so graciously provided for us, we can appreciate His mercy that He so lavishly pours upon all of His creation, things that many take for granted as the mundane and common.
Matthew 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
But we must always remember that though God is very merciful, we must heed His warnings of what refusing to repent and stubbornly refusing to turn to Him will bring on us. We have the example of those who were in the wilderness who were stubborn and how they all died. But even that was out of God’s mercy for them.
Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
God Knows our Frame
Jesus came as a man with all the emotions, feelings, propensity for pain and traumatic experiences of what it is like to be a human being. He can have mercy toward weak humans for He understands what it is like to be in the flesh and what it is like to struggle against the sins of the flesh this world. God says that “he knows our frame and that He remembers that we are dust“. (Psalm 103:14)
Paul tells us in Hebrews that Jesus took on the flesh of a man that He might have first hand experience of what it means to be a human being. In this way He is qualified to be our merciful and faithful High Priest and He can have compassion for when we are being tempted and sometimes fail but reach out to Him for the power to live as He lives.
Hebrews 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
The elect are in training to become priests under Christ and just as He had to learn to be compassionate and to show empathy for others, we are in the process of learning to be merciful and faithful priests in things pertaining to God.
Just like Christ we have had to suffer certain things in this life so that we can have compassion on those we will be working with in the future.
God’s instruction through Scripture is that regardless of a person’s station in life we are to do good to others and show kindness “as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all men” and especially to those who are our brethren.
Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Proverbs 3:28 Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.
Psalm 37:21…but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
Luke 14:12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. 14:13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14:14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
Jesus gives ample instruction on how we should be treating each other among our brethren and with others.
Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Luke 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 17:4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Paul specifically commands that we are to be kind and forgiving toward on another:
Ephesians 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
God instructs all of us to exhort and to encourage one another and in this way we can show mercy.
When it is appropriate, we can give correction in meekness, being aware of our own weaknesses. He bids us to open our hands wide to the unfortunate, the sick and the poor; and He says it will be as though we are loaning to Him when we do so. We are to be compassionate listeners and do all we can to build up the Ekklesia, letting God’s mercy reign in our hearts toward all.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 5:13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats is a picture of how true brethren are to care for one another; those who are unfortunate in our assemblies and also in the world and that the mercy we show or lack of it determines what God will say to us in the end.
Matthew 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
25:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or asthirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Psalm 41:1 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. 41:2 The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. 41:3 The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed [care for] in his sickness.
God Shows His Mercy By Warning Mankind to Repent and to Turn from Their Sins
There is another way the God shows His mercy and lovingkindness and it is by warning mankind through His Word and by sending His people to “cry aloud and lift up their voices like a trumpet and show the people their transgressions.”
The men and women who will take a stand for truth; warning their brothers and sisters to repent of their sins and of their idolatry, are showing the mercy and kindness of God to them by giving them a chance to repent and return to Him.
James 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Ezekiel 33:8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 33:9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
In the parable of the Sheep and Goats we are told how we are to feed the hungry, to give drink to those who thirst, to give clothing to those who have none and to visit the sick and those who are in prison.
There are some good people in the world who do have a human kind of mercy who have developed missionaries and charities to relieve some of the suffering in the world. This is a very good thing to do and this pleases God; if only the whole world would take care of those who live in poverty and show mercy to those who live in the third world nations rather than warring against them.
But it is rebellion against God and His way of living that really brings misery and poverty to the world. The miserable living conditions are a result of sin and sin breeds all kinds of greed, self-centerdness with no regard for the welfare of others. Taking care of the symptoms of sin; poverty, famine, disease, war, is like putting a small band-aid on a huge gaping infected wound if we are not addressing what is causing the wound in the first place.
We need to be showing this kind of mercy in physically helping others, but not neglecting to do the most important thing, and that is to teach the people to believe in God and how they can eliminate most of their problems by seeking God and living the way that brings peace and abundance to all.
What has been written in the Bible is for our instruction in the ways of God, (1st Corinthians 10:11) and we need to see the deep implications of what it means to discern the spiritual application of the obvious physical object lessons that are taught throughout Scripture.
Most of God’s instructions are dual in nature. Other than the obvious hunger and the lack of the basics for living, there is a spiritual hunger, thirst, nakedness, that engulfs the whole world. The most charitable thing we can be doing and to show the mercy of God is to preach the Gospel message and to teach the people of the world the way that leads to peace and blessings in an individual’s life, and if all are living that way it would produce peace and abundance for everyone in a nation. The proclaiming of the Gospel message is a labor of mercy and love and that is what Christ commanded foremost as the commission or work of the disciples would be.
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 19:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Mark 6:33 And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and out went them, and came together unto him. 6:34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
Mark 16:15 He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
The most merciful thing that God did was to send His Son into the world to die for the sins of mankind so that all peoples could have the opportunity to see that sin brings misery and death, come to hate the sin that is in themselves and then repent and turn to God. Christ died so that all those who choose to embrace His forgiveness and turn from their wicked ways can obtain salvation.
But what if there were no one willing to tell the world these things; that all were left to blindly follow Satan without any warning to stop; no one to teach the world that there is a much better way to live; a way that leads to a wonderful, beautiful life as a spiritual son or daughter living with God in His Kingdom for all of eternity?
God has called a people to do just that, as members of His Ekklesia, and out of His loving-kindness He provides a way for the message and a warning to go out so that people will at least have the chance to hear the Gospel of the way to salvation and to receive a warning.
Isaiah 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
We know that most of the world will not listen at this present time, but the day is coming when God’s spiritual resurrected children will be able to reach the world and teach God’s TRUTH that has been hidden from most of mankind since the time of Adam and Eve’s decision to rebel against God. All of mankind will finally come to know the TRUE GOD and about how He is a loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering Father and that He wants all to forsake the ways of Satan, return to Him and become members of His spiritual Family.
Isaiah 1:26 And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. 1:27 Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.
Isaiah 2:2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 2:5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.
Not only does God want His people to preach the Gospel and give a warning to the world, they are also in training now so that they will have the necessary skills to teach the world about God when Satan and his wicked ways have been eradicated from the earth.
We have a wonderful future and many marvelous things are going to happen, if we who are called now at this time, fulfill the Great Commission that was given by Christ to His disciples.
When people are at a place where there is nowhere they can turn to for help, they will finally come to see their need for their Creator and will turn to Him and seek Him and His mercy.
Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. 4:30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; 4:31 (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. 4:32 For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?
No wonder Jesus says in His Sermon on the Mount that BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL.
God’s Mercy is Everlasting!
Throughout all time God has abundantly and graciously showered out His mercy in everything He does and for all that He provides. God is unchanging, and the Bible’s writers show God demonstrating mercy in all of His ways from the very beginning. He is going to continue to pour out His mercy throughout all eternity. If He is truly our model, then we, too, will show forth mercy throughout eternity for He says be “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36). His nature is unchanging, and if we learn to show mercy to others we will become like Him and will have His kind of mercy written within our hearts.
Proverbs 3:2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3:3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 3:4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Isaiah 54:10 “‘For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee”.
God’s mercy will be for all time and will never cease and the children of God will be eternally grateful for the mercy of God the Father and of His Son who by their mercy made it possible to become eternal spirit beings and members of their family.
Psalm 136:3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
136:4 To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.
136:5 To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.
136:6 To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.
136:7 To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:
136:8 The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:
136:9 The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalm 25:10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Psalm 86:5 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
Psalm 86:15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
God is LOVE and a component of that love is mercy. Everything that God does and all that He has done for mankind is because of His mercy and kindness. Even when He has to correct sinful men and women, it is an act of mercy for it is giving them a chance to repent and a chance to turn from their wickedness and live rather then die in the lake of fire.
The people that stubbornly refuse to repent; God will not allow them to live forever, for they will only make it miserable for themselves and for others. The lake of fire may seem to be a very harsh judgment to some, but not allowing the incorrigible wicked to live in eternity with His Family is an act of mercy as well.
When we study God’s Word with spiritual eyes and with the overall big picture in mind, we can see that everything that God has planned and has done from the very beginning up until now and what He plans for the future, is all because of His great mercy and merciful long-suffering.
David knew God intimately as Moses did and he wrote much about the mercy of God. He too realized the incredible mercy that God has and that He has always been a merciful Being and that His mercy is from eternity and will never change; it will last throughout eternity. The mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting.
Psalm 103:13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
103:14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
103:15 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field;
103:16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
103:17 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children
103:18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
Our Great God is the model we are to emulate, He has demonstrated repeatedly throughout history His abundant His mercy on all mankind even though all mankind, like the ancient Israelites, have proven for the most part to be a stiff-necked and rebellious people. Out of His mercy He has provided a way for each person who has ever lived to change and to become a child of His, made into His image.
I do not know who the Harley Davidson motorcyclist was or what his religious status was on that day that he stopped to assist me with a flat tire so many years ago. He not only changed my tire and freed me from being stranded alongside the expressway; but he truly modeled (he was an object lesson) for me what it means to show mercy and compassion; and then gave me a personal admonition that basically said, “go and show mercy to others who need your mercy, just as I have shown mercy to you.”
Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Let us seek to be ever merciful as God is merciful. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy from God.
Have a wonderful Sabbath everyone,
Constance Belanger and James Malm
**Please Note: The flat tire incident really did happen and I used it as an illustration as an example of showing mercy. This is in no way an endorsement to stop and help all stranded motorists. The world has become a lot more dangerous since when this happened. We now have cell phones (most of us) and the most prudent thing might be to call the proper authorities for help. Please use wisdom in assisting strangers.