Learning Eleos

Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7

First, what is “mercy”? Let’s look a little closer with the help of our friend biblelexicon.com
There are two (similar) root words meaning “mercy” found here.

  • Greek: ἔλεος/ἐλεέω Transliteration: eleos/eleeó
  • Definition: mercy, pity, compassion; to show mercy as God defines it, i.e. as it accords with His truth (covenant) which expresses “God’s covenant-loyalty-mercy” (i.e. acting only on His terms).

I think a more familiar term or experience for most of us is “compassion.” Let’s try that on for size: “Blessed are the compassionate…” How can we show the generous love and mercy God has towards us to others? We naturally feel care and compassion toward our loved ones, but how can we cultivate a heart of compassion towards those we tend to ignore, judge, or disdain? What would it mean for you to show empathetic care to others—friends and strangers alike?

It’s hard. The easy thing is to just not engage. Compassion means opening our heart to feel—often pain and sorrow—with others.

It’s too hard. But we have a God who bears the pain of deep mercy daily to call us to Himself. The mercy of Christ was costly. Remember and receive His mercy for you. Experience His deep compassion and care. Without first knowing His mercy (forgiveness & love) for us, it is impossible for to be a conduit of it.

“…for they will be shown mercy.” Mercy here = “Specifically, of God granting even to the unworthy favor, benefits, opportunities, and particularly salvation by Christ.” We have, through Christ, already have and continue to receive this mercy from God. Unearned, mercy. And I believe we understand and feel this ever more deeply as we learn to extend mercy to others.

Blessed [makários] are the merciful… “Makários” describes a believer in enviable (“fortunate”) position from receiving God’s provisions (favor) – which (literally) extend (“make long, large”) His grace (benefits). This happens with receiving (obeying) the Lord’s inbirthings of faith.

God is infinitely merciful to us. He calls us to emulate His character and be obedient, faithful representatives through showing mercy. We will be blessed. He will grow us in the knowledge of Christ’s sacrificial mercy and love for us and use us to allow others to experience His compassion.

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