This past Sunday, I was preaching on the Sermon on the Mount, and in particular, Matthew 5:7-8.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (ESV)
I wonder if Jesus was at all thinking of the words of David when he said this.
With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
with the purified you deal purely,
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. (2 Samuel 22:26-27 — ESV)
How do we see God? Some people see God as tortuous. For example they look at how God passes judgment on people in scripture and they call it unfair. Or, ironically, they see how God shows mercy on the undeserving and again scream, “Unfair.”
Why? Because they themselves are twisted in their thinking.
All you have to do is look at society and you can see the twistedness of people’s thinking. What God calls sin, they call acceptable and good. And so when God condemns and punishes such sin, they scream that he is being cruel or unjust.
On the other hand, when people wrong them, they think it only natural to “punish” them in return. And if God shows grace and mercy to the person that wrongs them, they again scream that he is unjust.
But what they fail to realize is that all of us are worthy of God’s wrath. All of us are in need of God’s mercy.
It’s why Jesus died on the cross. He took the punishment for all our sins so that we could receive mercy.
And it’s those who realize and accept this that find that mercy and are transformed.
They accept God’s standards for good and evil, and seek to follow them.
When they fall, they repent.
Because they themselves have received mercy, they extend it to others.
But as long as people fail to accept that God’s standards are good and right, as long as they fail to understand that they themselves are in need of God’s mercy, they will always see God as tortuous.
They will criticize God when he condemns and punishes sin in the world, and criticize him when he shows mercy to those they feel are unworthy.
They “punish” those who sin against them, and get angry when God punishes their own sin.
How about you?
When you see God, do you see him as tortuous, unfair, and unjust?
Or when you see him, do you see his purity, his mercy, and his grace?
How you see him is how you will respond to him.
How do you see God?