Sunday, May 20, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Blessed are those..."

Tulip in my garden
During this past week I was reminded several times just how truly blessed I am. On Mother’s Day, I enjoyed having our family in for a BBQ and I, my mom, and my sister were happy to have our children around us. We still all live close-by and that is not something that many moms are privileged with. Since my birthday and my sister’s are both in the week following Mother’s Day, we have usually celebrated everything on that day (at least since we became adults). It’s always a fun time to share together and exchange cards and gifts. The funniest one I received was from my son and daughter-in-law (his sense of humor usually dictates his choice of card). This one had a picture of a hand mixer on the front and said, “Good moms let their kids lick the beaters…Great moms turn the mixer off first.”[i] Thankfully, he qualified that I was one of the great ones!

And so, I continue my reflections on the Beatitudes that Christ taught us to emulate as His followers…

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

When I think of showing mercy, I usually think of doing acts of kindness to someone who is in great need or in a desperate situation. It implies being compassionate toward a person who is less fortunate than me. Sometimes it means forgiving someone even when I don’t think they deserve it or when they refuse to admit their wrongdoing. There have been times I have decided to be more lenient when perhaps others would be harsh (or vice versa). There are many cases when an individual has been pardoned or shown clemency when they really deserved stricter punishment.

In Luke’s account of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, he later admonishes us to “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”[ii] It should be a natural response for me to show mercy to others since I am, first of all, a recipient of God’s mercy. As Titus explained, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy…I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.”[iii]

hornet building nest on our BBQ
I have to admit I didn’t show much mercy today to a couple of industrious hornets that were building a little nest under the sidebar of our barbeque. Just minutes before I noticed it, my husband had been cooking our lunch unaware of the activity inches from him. Perhaps the smoke kept the hornets from stinging him. After he took a few pictures and the hornets had disappeared for a minute, I knocked down the nest. They sure were confused for a while! Later I noticed one crawling in a tiny hole of a deck chair. Out came the Raid again!

I have to ask myself, “How readily do I show mercy to others?” Am I willing to take the necessary time and effort to help meet the needs of someone else, even when I’m not convinced they deserve it? When was the last time I intentionally got out of my comfortable bubble I place around me and help at the local food bank, soup kitchen, or home for abused women and children? Some people I know are so gifted at doing this, but Christ does not excuse me from showing mercy just because it is not my spiritual gift. It’s not an easy one for me, but it wasn’t easy for Christ to put Himself in my place either so He could rescue me from my sinful spiritual condition.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

I am always humbled when I consider this characteristic as my name is derived from the Greek word for pure, “katharos”. It has the meaning of being cleansed or purified. Paul says in I Corinthians 7:1, “…let us purify ourselves from everything that makes body or soul unclean, and let us be completely holy by living in awe of God.” Of course, only God, through His Holy Spirit, has the power to help us live in this way as we daily commit ourselves to His leading. I so often feel I fail to live up to this name, and I have to keep reminding myself that when I confess my sins “He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”[iv]

Am I faithful in allowing the water of God’s Word to cleanse me each day? Do I really live in awe of God and His holiness and desire to be pure as He is?

I trust that God will help me this week to be more merciful and pure in heart.

Until next Sunday,


[i] Shoebox, Hallmark
[ii] Luke 6:36
[iii] Titus 3:4-5, 8
[iv] I John 1:9

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