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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Grace, Mercy, Peace - in that order.
Date Posted: February 22, 2015

Jesus uses the word mercy with the intent of compassion, kindness, or good will towards those who are miserable and afflicted. The Greek word is éleos. According to Vine’s it is the outward manifestation of pity and assumes the need of the one who receives it.

So when Jesus says, “The merciful will receive mercy,” that assumes the need of the one giving the mercy as well as the one the merciful bestows mercy upon. How fascinating! Oh, not that God receives mercy. No, God is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4), so what He pours out of the windows of Heaven is unending. But is it only to those who are merciful? I’m saying that Jesus is also implying that humans who are merciful also need mercy.

Another heart stopping question is this: What did Jesus mean when He said that if you do not forgive, neither will your Father forgive you. This is recorded in several places (Matthew 6:15; Matthew 18:25; Mark 11:26; Luke 6:37; Luke 17:3-4).

Paul implies an order to how mercy is bestowed: Grace, mercy, and peace (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4). Grace is necessary before mercy can be given and then peace always will follow. That means that before believers confess their sins, grace from God is available. That means that the miserable and afflicted that need mercy (compassion in action) also require grace to be available. After mercy is bestowed, peace settles down around both the giver and the receiver of mercy like a cozy blanket.

Grace is that fabulous Greek word, charis that is infused with delicate nuances. One major nuance is that of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues (Thayer).

Matthew Henry states: Those are the merciful, who are piously and charitably inclined to pity, help, and comfort persons in misery. But also those who show mercy and forgiveness to those who have wronged them are more than happy. These people live lives without bitterness and without anger. There is much to be said for a light and airy heart that is full of God’s love towards others rather than a heart full of grudges.

Thus peace descends upon the children of God.

What about unbelievers? I have seen many unbelievers have grace and bestow mercy. I do not know the inner recesses of their hearts, or what their motives are to exhibit this grace and mercy, perhaps being made in the image of God with all of His emotions and characteristics helps unbelievers to show spurts and starts of grace and mercy.

I do know one thing. Many social psychology experiments have been conducted to test the feelings people have after doing a kindness. There is something that happens to a person when acting kindly. You just feel better. You step lighter. Your heart is lighter. It’s a very good feeling. Everyone can find happiness there. However, how much greater to find that eternal happiness in Heaven, don’t you think so?

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and
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