“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
Matthew 5:7 NASB
Rome dominated much of the ancient world, with an empire built by military might. This control was clear to people throughout Judea, who could see the presence of Roman soldiers.
Nations then and now have believed that ruthlessness is the path to dominance. Indeed, this can result in short-term gains. But history shows that nations who rule by ruthlessness should not expect to receive mercy in return. In fact, they often became victims of the ruthlessness they employed.
How should the people of Judea have reacted to the presence of Rome? Many expected them to answer Roman ruthlessness with their own commitment to violence.
But Jesus taught a completely different attitude toward life, with a focus on spiritual things, seeking first God’s Kingdom. He stressed the importance of mercy. If we want God’s blessings, we must realize that He shows mercy to those who are merciful.
The Greek word translated “merciful” here, used for the only time in the Gospels, suggests compassion and concern. In the world, those who practice ruthlessness may seem to dominate. Yet they often forget that God is the ultimate Ruler. The righteous Judge. That we always reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). That if we need God’s forgiveness, we need to forgive others (Matthew 6:14-15).
Do you want God’s mercy? Then seek to be merciful and compassionate. This even means loving your enemies (Luke 6:35). Make this your attitude, if you want to receive God’s blessings.