Making Mercy a Way of Life

MEMORY SELECTION: “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” —Luke 6:36

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Luke 13:10-17; I Corinthians 9:19-23

MERCY suggests that element of character that would withhold response toward a wrongful act. Our Lord Jesus was merciful toward those who opposed him in his ministry and even willingly laid his life down as a sacrifice for their sins as well as the sins of the whole groaning creation.

Our Heavenly Father is the fountain of all good things, and in him originated the attribute of mercy. We as his children and prospective heirs of the present call to become members of his divine family are to heed the instructions of his Word as pointed out in this week’s memory selection, “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” We should, therefore, make mercy a way of life. Mercy should become an important element of our Christian character.

During the present Gospel Age the faithful follower of the Master has been taught and guided by the principles of truth and righteousness which were adhered to by our Lord during his first advent. Jesus’ prayer to his Father establishes the law of love as expressed in the passage (Matt. 6:12, NEB), “Forgive us the wrong we have done, as we have forgiven those who have wronged us.” It has been part of the divine arrangement in the development of his children that mercy shall be given to them in proportion as they are willing to extend it to others. We have all received richly of God’s grace in spite of our shortcomings. We are to cultivate that same spirit of forgiveness in our own hearts, to the praise and glory of our Father.

The context from which our memory selection has been taken points out the Golden Rule. Luke (6:27,28) states the necessity to “love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” During the present age there are few who are willing to accept the terms of the way which has been opened. It is a narrow way, and only those who strive to overcome their fallen natures are able to comprehend the true significance of Jesus’ teachings.

Luke’s record continues (vs. 29), “And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other.” The Master’s lesson teaches us that we are not to render evil for evil. Those who allow righteousness to work in their hearts are therefore guided by the spirit of the truth in all of life’s affairs.

Then we note the instruction that to “him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.” (vs. 29) The lesson expresses the law of love strongly by suggesting unmurmuring submission on the part of the child of God. Next (vs. 30): “Give to every man that asketh of thee: and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.” Jesus thus teaches that we are to be generous. Merely to give an object to someone, with the hope of receiving something of equal value, would be an act with a selfish motive. This must be avoided if we are to grow in the graces of the spirit of God. Rather (vs. 31): “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” As God exercises his goodness and mercy to those who are yet unthankful, so we should also seek to cultivate that spirit in our characters.

We are to be merciful if we are to obtain mercy: “For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 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.”—vss. 32-34

The lesson in this passage shows the importance of overcoming the spirit of the world. We are admonished therefore (vs. 35), “Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again.” Those who give diligence in the growth of this aspect of their Christian lives have the assurance, as Luke further states (vs. 35) that “your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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