The greatest person who ever lived on the earth delivered one of the greatest sermons ever delivered, known as the Sermon on the Mount. This article is about “Blessed are the Merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5: 7 in the Bible)
We live in a world where there is much hostility and meanness. By reason of our human natures, so many seem prone to act with unmitigated selfishness regardless of injury to others.
Mercy is a Godlike Quality
Mercy comes from the heart and must be stirred up from within. It is part of the endowment each of us receives as a son or daughter of God and partaker of a divine birthright.
A parable of the Savior deals with mercy:
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: …
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot.” (Luke 16: 19-26 in the Bible)
We all need a stronger spirit of compassion in all of our relationships, a stronger element of mercy, for the promise is sure that if we are merciful we shall obtain mercy. Mercy is of the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The degree that each of us extends mercy becomes an expression of the reality of our discipleship under the Savior. The Savior Said, “Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5: 39 in the Bible)
“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.” (Matthew 5:40 in the Bible)
“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” (Matthew 5: 41 in the Bible)
It was the Savior while hanging on the cross in agony, cried out, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23: 34 in the Bible)
How great a thing is mercy and most often it is quiet and unassuming. It is the antithesis of vengeance and hatred, of greed and offensive egotism.
Let us be more merciful
Get the arrogance out of our lives, the conceit, the egotism. Let us be more compassionate, gentler, filled with forbearance and patience and a greater measure of respect one for another. In so doing, our very example will cause others to be more merciful, and we shall have greater claim upon the mercy of God who in His love will be generous toward us.
“For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind? (Mosiah 4: 19 in the Book of Mormon)
If we want some future day to be in the presence of our Heavenly Father and Savior, then we need to develop now the quality of mercy in our dealings with each other.
Dallas Jones is the local leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Part of a talk by Gordon B. Hinckley from the May 1990 Ensign was used in this article. For a more detailed discussion on the Savior’s Sermon on the Mount call (231) 383-8359 or send an email [email protected].