A Merciful Heart

27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.

30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Lk. 6:27-38

Recently, a brother came to my house and I could see from the look on his face that he was upset about something. He began telling me about another brother with whom they had started a business together. They would buy maize in the villages and sell it in town. The brother who came to my house (whom we shall call ‘A’) provided the capital; the other brother (we shall call him ‘B’) went to buy the maize. But ‘B’ had to go through middlemen, and getting the maize was a complex and difficult task.

Some time back, ‘B’ had lost money to a middleman through these dealings. Now, on this day, ‘A’ was telling me a story similar to the earlier one. ‘B’ had lost money again to a dishonest middleman. Both ‘A’ and I knew ‘B’ well and we knew he could not have played a dirty trick. The brother has such a lovely heart! But, apparently, he was much too trusting of worldly men.

Now, ‘A’ was livid. He said to me, “This is the second time this brother has lost my money. I feel this has gone too far and I cannot take it anymore. I will not lie to you, pastor, my heart has gone bad on account of this.”

When I looked at him, his eyes were red, and it was not because he had been crying. It was due to anger, deep rage.

I told him, “Brother, first of all, I empathise with your situation. It is a terrible situation. But we must look at this issue from God’s point of view.”

I also said to him, “In the world, the currency is money: pounds, dollars, euros and shillings. This is the basis of the world’s riches. But God has a different currency. His currency is not money. God’s currency is our hearts. Our clean hearts constitute God’s riches. You must guard your heart at every cost if you are to be of any value to Him.”

Worldly currency – money – is nothing to God. Money is nothing in the Spirit. It has no value. Fortunately, in heaven, God does not deal in money. He deals in hearts.

Money should not make our hearts go bad. Nothing of this world should make our hearts go bad, or become bitter. That is why Jesus said to forgive your brother “seventy times seven” if he sins against you (Mat. 18:21-22). The reason for this commandment is simple: it is because God expects our hearts not to be set on this present world. On the contrary, they have been taken up by the love of God.

The richest man in the world is the man who carries a pure heart. Such a heart is priceless. Such a heart can do all of God’s will. It is rich in the grace and love of God.

Notice what Jesus said in verses 35 and 36:

“35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”

The Bible says here that even when we lend people money (or things), it should be as if we have given them rather than lending them. That means that the word “lend” is not in our vocabulary. Such is the heart that God is looking for in us – a heart of mercy.  Why a heart of mercy? The reason is simply because the person who borrows from you is a person in need. Why would you not have mercy on a needy (and probably poor) person?

Of course, there are joyriders in this category, but they should not worry us. If we have the heart, we will also do good to them, and one day, they will see the light and repent of their joyriding. There is nothing difficult about being kind for a person who has mercy.

This is why Jesus also said we should love our enemies. “Love your enemies” is a scripture that we quote glibly, but there is nothing easy about loving your enemy. Only a merciful heart can do it. If you have a heart of mercy, you look beyond your enemy’s attitude and you see how much he is suffering in his spirit. Jesus said that our heavenly Father “is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”

I cannot imagine being kind to a thankless person, much less an evil one. Only a heart of mercy can do that. If you are rich in mercy, you can do that.

Finally, let us consider verses 37 and 38:

37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

Men and preachers have used verse 38 to try and get rich in the natural. We have all heard the sermons! But if it is a matter of money or worldly riches, the devil also can give you those things. But the devil cannot give you grace.

We cannot fool God. Since the riches of God are grace, He will give us grace, much grace, to the extent that we have mercy to do what God says we should do first:

“Judge not… condemn not…forgive… give…”

The more we do these things, the more grace we will have.

[“Judge not… condemn not…forgive… give…” This is what God’s people need]

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4 thoughts on “A Merciful Heart

  1. This is a point which needs teaching, as we see forgiveness, generosity, God-like love and grace are all included in the one package of life and witness. That is unnerving – fail in one and the others fall away at the same time! I also ponder John 10:10a, the thief who comes to steal and kill and destroy. Am I to feed Apollyon!? You have got me deep into listening for how this fits together. Still, the first commandment is love, and the second one is love, and the new one is love. So I will settle there while I wait on the city wall for an answer 🙂 …
    Peace

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