Wednesday, April 24, 2013

We All Need Mercy, Beatitidues Pt 19

Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy." The reality is that all of us find ourselves in situations where we need mercy. We all enter into places where we find that we have very little to nothing to offer those around us. But for some reason we have been taught that we need to outgrow the need for mercy. There is the myth that circulates around Christian teaching that trains us to think that Christians should grow up to a level where they can always benefit others. The assumption is that we need to grow out of the need for mercy. It's based on a triumphalistic perspective where we think that somehow we can always rise up and that the Spirit will empower us at any and every time to be strong for someone else who needs mercy.

But this is a myth. We are all wounded. We are all in need of mercy.

In my experience, those who don't think they need mercy are not very good at offering it. They are professionals at telling people how to become like them, how to get their lives straight so that they can rise above their situation. They don't know how to offer mercy because they don't know how to receive it.

Receiving mercy is different from receiving forgiveness. This is not about their status before God. Mercy is the art of being with another in the midst of their pain, in the midst of their suffering, in the midst of their weakness and even in the midst of their failures.

Jesus said "Blessed are the merciful." To be merciful means that we overcome the need to fix people or even to help them out of their situation. It means that we embrace then right where they are. We all need this, more often than we are willing to admit. It's what God offers us. And we are blessed when we offer it because it means that we know how to receive it. Blessed are the merciful because the merciful find that they are given mercy.

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