Thursday, July 31, 2014

August 1, 2014

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8

Using a dating relationship as an illustration for the truth of this Beatitude really does work since Jesus is announcing the coming of a Kingdom that is entered through relationship not through religious observances.

The point is that Jesus wants to keep seeing you in a committed spiritual relationship. He wants a bride not a date.

One of the things that "pure in heart" means is "unmixed" or "clear".

Jesus came to proclaim that God is purely committed in His desire for a committed relationship with you!

If you can hearken back to your high school days, remember the most popular guy/gal in school (maybe the quarterback of the football team or the head cheerleader) and imagine you discover that person wants to "start seeing" you. Of all the kids in your school that person wants a relationship with you!

How exciting would that be?

Would you be casual about that?

Would you have an "unmixed" attitude? Would you pursue that relationship with all your heart or would you be casual and conflicted about it?

My guess is you would be so thrilled and excited that this person wanted to start "seeing you" you would quickly commit to that relationship.

So, when you learn that the God of the Universe, your Creator and Redeemer longs for an intimate spiritual relationship with you, why are you not eager to respond to that invitation?

Jesus came to prove how committed God is to having a relationship with you! He longs to know you and to be known by you! He came to make such a relationship possible.

You were created with a longing and a need to be in loving intimate relationship with a significant person. God designed you with a desire for Him and only He can fulfill that longing in your spirit.

There is a part of you that both desires AND fears that relationship. That is the impure part of you that Jesus came to deal with.

This foolish, conflicted heart will respond to God's invitation in one of three ways:

It will try to spurn Him and deny the need for Him.

It will try to earn Him and "date" Him by getting involved in religious practices and rituals hoping to become "good enough" for Him.

Or, it will turn to Him in faith and rely on Him to make you pure in heart. This is the choice that God calls "blessed".

Which will you choose today?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 31, 2014

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8

If you are older than 18 you have likely been involved in a conversation something like this:

"Johnny, I really like you. You are a great guy, but I don't want to see you anymore. I think we ought to see other people."

Sound familiar?

At some point she may have added, "It's not you, Johnny, it's me."

That was real comforting! Johnny already knew it was her because he's not the one who wanted to stop seeing her!

What does that have to do with the sixth Beatitude?

A whole bunch, actually.

In a very real sense, Jesus is saying, "Blessed is the one whose heart is purely committed to God and who desires to continue seeing Him."

Being in a half-hearted relationship with God will only make you miserable and make Him sick to His stomach:

"So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."  Revelation 3:16

When you choose to be a half-hearted Christian it's not Him, it's you! He is fully committed to you!

If you choose to be half-hearted in your commitment to Christ you will have an unstable faith:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1:5-8

Being "pure in heart" refers to being “unmixed, as having no double allegiance.” In his commentary on this passage, Warren Wiersbe writes that the “basic idea is that of integrity, singleness of heart, as opposed to duplicity, or a divided heart.” Jesus said it this way in Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” 

Do you want to be in a significant relationship with someone who is half-hearted, double-minded or conflicted toward you? Would you consider yourself in a blessed relationship?

Neither does God!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 30, 2014

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" Matthew 5:8 

For the past several years there has been much concern over distracted driving. In a world of distractions "distracted driving" usually refers to driving while checking messages on your phone. Obviously, when your attention is divided between the traffic and the texts you are putting yourself and others at risk.

When Jesus commands His Kingdom people to be "pure in spirit" He is capturing the same idea. It does the text no injustice to say, "Blessed are those who are not spiritually distracted".

Esteemed Bible scholar and teacher, Dr. William Barclay, shares these helpful insights into the Sixth Beatitude:

"Here is the beatitude which demands that every man who reads it should stop, and think, and examine himself.

The Greek word for pure is "katharos", and it has a variety of usages, all of which have something to add to the meaning of this beatitude for the Christian life.

(i) Originally it simply meant clean, and could, for instance, be used or soiled clothes which have been washed clean.

(ii) It is regularly used for corn which has been winnowed or sifted and cleansed of all chaff. In the same way it is used of an army which has been purged of all discontented, cowardly, unwilling and inefficient soldiers, and which is a force composed solely of first-class fighting men.

(iii) It very commonly appears in company with another Greek adjective--"akiratos". Akiratos can be used of milk or wine which is unadulterated with water, or of metal which has in it no tinge of alloy.

So, then, the basic meaning of "katharos" is unmixed, unadulterated, unalloyed. That is why this beatitude is so demanding a beatitude. It could be translated:

"Blessed is the man whose motives are always entirely unmixed, for that man shall see God."

When I read this I think of what James says in his Epistle: "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." James 1:8

So as you begin to get you mind around this idea of heart purity, let's begin here. Purity is having motives that are single-minded. Obviously, when your motives are clear your vision will be more keen as well.

Just as you can't be looking at your phone and focused on the highway, you can't be focused on the world and clearly focused on God.

You can't be thinking about your phone message and have your mind purely focused on driving can you?

Where will you fix your focus today?

If you want to see God clearly, clear the clutter out of your spirit.

Monday, July 28, 2014

July 29, 2014

The great Zig Ziglar said, " A hypocrite is one who gripes and complains about all the sex, nudity and violence on his VCR."

While the technology may be a bit outdated, the point is not.

James tells us that "a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."

A hypocrite is a person who says one thing but does another. It harms the faith and damages local churches. The Early Church was not exempt from this destructive behavior and God dealt with it severely. Here's the story:

"Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God." When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price." Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also." At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events." Acts 5:1-11

Well, that's one way to solve the hypocrisy problem. But I fear that if God killed all the hypocrites who populate the Church of Jesus Christ, we wouldn't have many Christians left.

In yesterday's post I made the point that Cain and Abel both wanted to please God but only Abel did it on God's terms while Cain tried to please God on his own terms. In short, he was disobedient.

The story of Aninas and Sapphira shows us another ugly facet of hypocrisy, trying to impress men with how spiritual you are.

As the Church in Jerusalem was exploding with growth, the needs were incredible. So, these committed, Spirit-filled believers were selling off their possessions and giving the proceeds to the Apostles to distribute to those in need. They gave willingly and they gave as they saw fit. There was no pressure or force place upon them. THAT is true faith!

Enter Ananias, who with his wife, sold a piece of property and decided to give a portion of the profit to the Church and tuck part of it away for themselves. There was nothing wrong with that. They could have kept the whole amount or they could have given the whole amount. These were free-will gifts.

Their hypocrisy developed when they decided to misrepresent their gift. When they brought it to the Apostles they claimed that they were giving the entire amount of their sale. Why would they do that?

Only one reason. They wanted to look more generous than they were. They wanted the Apostles to praise them and shine the spotlight on them. They wanted the other believers to admire them. Not good.

In their desire for praise and attention, they succumbed to the temptation of being man-pleasers rather than God-pleasers.

It is always bad to lie. Lying to the Holy Spirit can be fatal. Ananias and Sapphira are living (er - dying) proof of that. While hypocrisy will not kill you on the spot, as it did them, it certainly kills your spirit, kills your witness and damages the health of your church. It is highly destructive.

Being respected and admired by men is a strong desire in the human spirit. Often it is even stronger than the desire to please God. That is the double-mindedness that James refers to that leads to unstable behavior.

Will you take a moment and ask God to search your spirit to see if your desire to please man is stronger than it should be? 

Will you commit to being single-minded in your pursuit of God?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 28, 2014

"So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him." II Peter 3:14

There are three great qualities that mark those who are prepared for eternity. Peter mentions them here:

The morality - "spotless"

Those who want to spend a happy ever after in Heaven make sure they are living spotless lives. Spotless means that there are no unconfessed sins in their lives. They understand the truth of John's statement in I John 1:7 - "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."

It is possible to live a spotless life by walking in the truth and living in obedience. By walking in truth and obedience you will avoid many sins and the moment you do sin the Holy Spirit will convict you of your sin and you can repent of it. When you repent the blood of Christ cleanses the spot from your life.

The motives - "blameless"

Blameless means that your motives are pure and you do not commit intentional, willful sins. Your hearts desire is to please and honor God. You are entirely commited to pleasing God. When you do sin it is because of a momentary flare up of your selfish will or a moment of weakness of the flesh.

People who are hoping for Heaven have surrendered their will to God and consecrated themselves to serving Him. They walk in the Spirit and do their best to overcome the flesh.

The mentality - "peaceful"

Heaven bound people know that they are spotless and blameless because they have peace in their spirit. God has given them a spirit of power and of love and a sound mind. He has sent their hearts in perfect peace because they have fixed their mind on Him.

They have no fear of the judgment and they have fellowship with God and know that all is well. Also, because they love God they are committed to living in fellowship with their brothers.

Heaven bound people live godly lives in the here and now. They live spotless, blameless and peaceful lives.

How are you measuring up?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

July 27, 2014

"Blessed are the merciful for they will obtain mercy." Matthew 5:7

I like to tag profound truths to practical daily realities, so I have defined mercy as "giving grace to those who give you grief". An equally practical tag line is this "trying to be helpful to those who are being hurtful to you".

Several Biblical examples of where Jesus gave illustrations of mercy can be found in:

The parable of the unmerciful servant - Matthew 18:21-35

The story of the Good Samaritan - Luke 10:25-37

Straining a gnat and swallowing a camel - Matthew 23:24-24

I recommend those for further study to help you wrap your head and heart around this important Kingdom virtue of mercy.

But here is powerful contemporary illustration of what mercy looks like:


Meditate on how their merciful response impacted their community and the world.

Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and measure your mercy quotient.

Friday, July 25, 2014

July 26, 2014

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" Matthew 5:7

This fifth of eight Beatitudes marks a transition between an emphasis on inner spirituality to the outward expression of faith.

In sharing these spiritual principles Jesus is telling you what it takes to gain God's approval and presence. Let's review:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit" - God approves when you comprehend and confess your utter absolute spiritual depravity.

"Blessed are they who mourn" - God approves when you come to grips with your sinfulness and it breaks your heart. 

"Blessed are the meek" - God approves when out of your sense of powerless over sin you surrender to His sovereignty and rest in His will.

"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled" - God approves when you have emptied yourself to Him so He can fill you with His righteousness and give you the appetite to crave more.

So, the promise of His righteousness is clear but what is the evidence of His filling?

"Blessed are the merciful" - God approves when you, having experienced His mercy and grace, express that mercy to others. The first outward evidence of His righteousness is mercy for others.

This spiritual virtue is unique in that to get it you must give it to others. If you want mercy you must be merciful! 

Being merciful requires sympathy, the ability to connect with the hardships of others. And being merciful required empathy, the desire to actually identify with the pain of others. But mercy goes beyond sympathy and empathy, it gets involved to share the pain while trying to solve the problem.

A simple way to think of mercy is this, "Mercy gives someone grace when that someone gives you grief."

Or, another way to express mercy, "Mercy tries to help someone who is trying to hurt you." Mercy asks, "I wonder what is hurting him that would cause him to want to hurt me?"

"Blessed are the merciful......."

Who needs mercy from you?

Who is trying to hurt you? Do you know how you can help him?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 25, 2014

"For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

It is crucial to understand the meaning and manifestation of mercy so you can use it rather than abuse it.

Mercy is the flip-side of grace. Grace is blessing someone with what they don’t deserve and mercy is withholding what they do deserve. You can’t extend grace without having mercy.

The Greek word used in here, “eleemon” means essentially the same as its English counterpart, "merciful." However, in all likelihood Jesus spoke in Aramaic, and the idea behind His statement about mercy come from Old Testament—that is, Hebrew—usage and teaching. The word He would have used is the Hebrew and Aramaic “chesed.”

William Barclay's Daily Study Bible commentary on Matthew states regarding this word:

“It does not mean only to sympathize with a person in the popular sense of the term; it does not mean simply to feel sorry for some in trouble.” Chesed,” mercy, means the ability to get right inside the other person's skin until we can see things with his eyes, think things with his mind, and feel things with his feelings.”

"Clearly this is much more than an emotional wave of pity; clearly this demands a quite deliberate effort of the mind and of the will. It denotes a sympathy which is not given, as it were, from outside, but which comes from a deliberate identification with the other person, until we see things as he sees them, and feel things as he feels them. This is sympathy in the literal sense of the word. Sympathy is derived from two Greek words, syn which means together with, and paschein which means to experience or to suffer. Sympathy means experiencing things together with the other person, literally going through what he is going through." (p. 103)

So the translation of the fifth beatitude might read:

“O the blessedness of the man who gets right inside other people, until he can see with their eyes, think with their thoughts, feel with their feelings, for he who does that will find others do the same for him, and will know that that is what God in Jesus Christ has done!”

You need to understand mercy so you can become merciful as God demands.

As you become merciful to others, you receive mercy from God.

Let me share one more very contemporary reason for understanding mercy. Mercy can be used against you!

For example, those who believe in open borders and amnesty for those illegally crossing our Southern border make the claim that prosecuting these illegals or deporting them is unmerciful. They cite the thousands of children flooding into our country to appeal to our sense of mercy while ignoring the obvious violations of law and the tens of thousands of adults who are also crowding into border states. If anyone tries to point out the manifold problems and potential dangers created by unchecked immigration, they are shamed for being unmerciful.

Mercy operates within the context of justice. Jesus made that clear in Matthew 23:23 - "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former."

Let's have mercy on innocent children who have been lured to our land by lies but let's also do justice to our laws and be faithful to our Constitution!

July 24, 2014

"Blessed are the merciful for they will obtain mercy." Matthew 5:7

So, how do I become a more merciful person?

Jesus gives us a good insight in His rebuke to the religious leaders:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!" Matthew 23:23-24

Jesus' indictment of these Pharisees and scribes was their tendency to "major on the minors" and "minor on the majors". In His words they, "neglected the weightier matters" such as justice, mercy and faith. They were making rules and religion more important than relationships.

They set their standard of judgement at the level of their own "self-righteousness" and had little mercy for others who didn't measure up. I guarantee you that if you measure your worth by the unworthiness of others you will have little room for mercy.

This portion of Scripture is an example of the humor of Christ. He is shaming them through this ridiculous image of "straining gnats while swallowing a camel". 

His point is they had become so focused on keeping the finer points of the law they lost touch with the spirit of the law - LOVE. They extended mercy to themselves and judged others harshly.

When Jesus calls us to mercy He is calling us to be merciless toward our own weaknesses and extend mercy to others.

Have you ever lost your faith focus?

Have you ever found yourself straining gnats?

Have you allowed yourself to get caught up in self-righteous judgments?

A good example of this idea is Jesus story of the Good Samaritan. The religious people walked past the injured man because they were focused on their "religious obligations". They didn't have time for mercy because they were on a mission. 

But along came a despised half-breed Samaritan who stopped to care for the suffering Jew. After administering first-aid, he then tenderly lifted the man onto his donkey and carried him to a place where he could be cared for, promising to cover the cost of his recovery.

Why do you think the "non-religious" Samaritan showed mercy while the religious Jews neglected mercy?

Could it be he was mindful of mercy because he received so little mercy himself? 

Will you search your heart and ask God to give you a heart of mercy?

When you put mercy in the company of justice and faith it elevates its status! Mercy must be something that pleases God and it needs to be important to you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 22, 2014

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Matthew 5:7

One of the principles that has guided my pastoral ministry is this truth, "Hurting people hurt people." 

If you have spent more than a couple of days on Planet Earth you have been hurt by a hurting person or you have been guilty of hurting others in your painful periods.

Are you hurting? Are you suffering through a painful period of life?

Do you live with a hurting person? If so, you probably are hurting over not being able to help them plus the pain they inflict upon you by their hurtful behavior.

So, one of the challenges of ministry in a local church congregation is dealing with hurting people. The first challenge is, "How do I keep them from hurting others within the church?" and the second challenge is, "How do I help them deal with their pain?"

Fortunately, Jesus addresses this touchy topic in the fifth Beatitude and the answer will surprise you.

The word for "merciful" in the original language has the idea of being empathetic with the pain of others. Rather than hurting back when someone hurts you, try to understand his pain so you can be helpful to him.

I know that is counter-intuitive to our human nature, but think about the alternative. If you are hurt by a hurting person and you respond by hurting back it only escalates and intensifies the pain.

So, here is how this beatitude can be expressed in daily living, "when you get grief, give grace". When a hurting person hurts you, look for a way to help him.

Mercy is what God shows you and me. Mercy is the flip-side of grace. Grace gives kindness that isn't deserved and mercy withholds punishment that is deserved. Mercy was God withholding with wrath and judgment from us and grace was Jesus taking that wrath upon Himself.

Grace and mercy are the perfect resources for surviving in a world of hurting people. But, they are only available from the Holy Spirit through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Do you need mercy for today?

Jesus has it to give! Get Jesus and you get mercy!

July 23, 2014

"Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy."  Matthew 5:7

I have always thought of myself as a good-hearted guy, but now I have scientific evidence to prove it.

As a result of the two day battery of medical tests on my heart, I can now document that my heart is good in every way!

Praise God!

In the Beatitudes Jesus gives you eight traits of a good heart. The trait I am dealing with this week is being merciful.

A simple and practical way of thinking about mercy is "giving grace when you are given grief" or you can say it is "being helpful to someone who is trying to be hurtful to you".

Mercy withholds justice and responds with grace. Jesus told a story that illustrated mercy:

"Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’  And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” Matthew 18:21-35
One servant gives a great look at what it looks like to be merciful and the other servant is referred to as "unmerciful".
Which servant had a good heart?
Which servant is most like you?
Where do you need to show mercy?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 21, 2014

“I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me. Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. I cry to you, LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.”   Psalms 142

So, here you are in a dark, damp, desolate, disgusting cave and you don’t like it. You feel like you are trapped because you are. That's how commitment works, which is why you need to work on your commitments.  So when you feel trapped and you don't like the feeling what do you do?

The Psalmist could have given up and turned Himself in to the King and hope for mercy. He could have killed the King and do away with his enemy. But His commitment to His God would allow Him to do neither. So he decided to bear the consequences of His commitment to serve God, even though it was terrible in the cave.

You do what David did:

Complain - “I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble.”

You don’t have to like it in the cave. Who would? David was innocent. He had done nothing to deserve being hunted down like a stray dog, but he had managed to get on the wrong side of an insecure king.

I imagine it would be hard enough to be public enemy number one if you were guilty but it is very unfair to be totally innocent but still have your life totally disrupted.

Pour out your complaint to the Lord. But when you complain, don’t curse the Lord or don’t accuse the Lord. When you complain, let it out and get it over with – keep it short.

Cry – “Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name.”

Being trapped in a cave and having your life completely disrupted is very difficult. Long dark lonely nights in a damp cave can take an emotional toll on a person. The natural way to release emotional pain is to cry out. The Psalmist cried out.

I can think of another innocent Man Who was brutally treated and cried out to God in His agony. His Name was Jesus and He was the Son of God, Who became your Savior. He cried out from the Cross and complained to His Father.

Frankly, most people these days, including Christians bail on their commitments at this point. When they are feeling trapped and life is very uncomfortable they "cave in" rather than stand true to their commitment.

David cried and complained in the cave but did not cave on his commitment. Jesus cried and complained on the Cross but He did not cave-in. How about you? Are you feeling trapped and thinking about caving in on a commitment? This is where character is built and integrity shows. What will you do?

Calm Down and Connect - "LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”

Once the Psalmist dealt with his ragged emotions and calmed down, he fixed his focus back on His God and reconnected with his faith. He remembered why he had committed to God in the first place. Just when he felt like getting out he got back in. The good news is that when we can't leave the cave, God can come to us! He can comfort and encourage and strengthen so we don't cave in on our commitments.

If you have been feeling trapped in a faith commitment or a family commitment or a financial commitment - you don't have to cave in. The Psalmist proves it!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 20, 2014

"Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy." Matthew 5:7

I haven't met a person who doesn't want to be right. I have met many who do not care about being righteous. 

Righteousness is being in a right relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. That relationship is a result of recognizing your utter spiritual corruption, repenting with a broken heart, submitting to His control over your life and then craving the infilling of His righteousness.

How are you to know if you have received His righteousness? His righteousness will become evident in four ways; you will become merciful, you will become pure of heart, you will become a peacemaker and you will suffer persecution.

So, a righteous person is a merciful person. How does that happen and what does it look like?

"The key to becoming a merciful person is to become a broken person. You get the power to show mercy from the real feeling in your heart that you owe everything you are and have to sheer divine mercy. Therefore, if we want to become merciful people, it is imperative that we cultivate a view of God and ourselves that helps us to say with all our heart that every joy and virtue and distress of our lives is owing to the free and undeserved mercy of God." - John Piper -

Righteousness is a function of God's grace. Grace is what God gives you that you do not deserve (salvation/righteousness). There is no possible way you could ever attain to the righteousness required to please God. You can only receive that righteousness as a gift from God through Christ.

Mercy is the flip side of grace. While grace is getting what you don't deserve from God mercy is NOT getting what you DO deserve from God (judgment and wrath).

So, every righteous person who ever has or ever will enter the Kingdom of God enters by His grace and His mercy.

How should one respond after having unworthily received the grace and mercy of God? Should he not extend that same mercy and grace to others?

In short, if you are merciful it proves you have been made righteous. 

Is there someone to whom you should extend mercy?