Hubert Humphrey was a former Vice President of the United States. When he died, hundreds of people from across the world attended his funeral. All were welcome but one: former President Richard Nixon, who had not long previously humiliated himself and his country through the tragedy of Watergate. As eyes turned away and conversations ran dry around him, Nixon could feel the ostracism being ladled on him. Then Jimmy Carter, the serving President, walked into the room. As he moved to his seat, he noticed Richard Nixon standing alone. Carter changed course, walked over to Nixon, held out his hand, and smiling broadly, embraced Nixon and said, "Welcome home, Mr. President! Welcome home!" The incident was reported by Newsweek magazine, which wrote: "If there was a turning point in Nixon's long ordeal in the wilderness, it was that moment and that gesture of love and compassion."
In Matthew 5:7, Jesus taught, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Wayne Barber stated, "The word 'blessed' is makarios. It means 'fully, inwardly satisfied,' not just 'happy,' as some translate it. Matthew is saying that those who are fully, inwardly satisfied with Christ are those who are the ones showing others mercy. The implication is that they themselves are daily living in the mercies that God is bestowing upon them. Literally the verse should read, 'Blessed, the merciful for they shall receive mercy.'"
The dictionary includes as definitions of mercy: "The mercy of God to man; a blessing regarded as an act of divine favor or compassion; compassion or forbearance; kindness extended to someone instead of strictness or severity." In 1912, the great new ship, the Titanic, on her maiden voyage struck an iceberg and sank, with hundred of lives lost. After that tragedy, an American newspaper carried two illustrations. One was a drawing of the ship striking the iceberg, and crumpling like an eggshell. Underneath the picture were these words: "The weakness of man, the supremacy of nature." The other drawing was that of one of the passengers, W. T. Stead, stepping back to give his place in the last life boat to a woman with a child. Underneath that picture was this line: "The weakness of nature, the supremacy of man."
"Mercy to the needy is a loan to God, and God pays back those loans in full" (Proverbs 19:17, The Message).
Dave Arnold, Pastor
Gulf Coast Worship Center
New Port Richey , Florida 34654