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August 17, 2020 1:47 pm
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Practicing mercy in a world that's proudly merciless doesn't seem like a strategy for success. But in fact, you can't live a happy life without being merciful. Today on Turning Point, Dr. David Jeremi takes a closer look at his virtue. That's all too rare in today's culture. Continuing the series, How to be Happy. According to Jesus, here's David with the conclusion of his message. Happy. Other helpless French.
Thank you for joining us today. Now it's time we get to our lesson today. This is about mercy. Happy are the helpers.
Rebecca Manley Pipper, who is a wonderful writer, had an article published in Campus magazine, and in the article she tells about a young nurse who took her pilgrimage to understanding mercy in these ways. She was just getting started in her nursing career when she was thrust into a situation where there was a patient who could show no appreciation or response to her care. The patient's name was Eileen. She was totally helpless.
She had had a cerebral aneurysm, broken blood vessels in the brain, and it left her with absolutely no control over her body. As near as the doctors could tell, Eileen was totally unconscious, unable to feel pain and unaware of anything going on around her.
It was the job of the hospital staff and Eileen's nurse to turn her every hour to prevent bedsores and to feed her twice a day. And the way they fed her was with the kind of mush that was fed through a stomach tube.
Caring for Eileen was the most thankless task you could have on the hospital staff.
One day, an older nurse came to this young lady who was just getting started and she said to her, when it's this bad, the only way you can deal with it is to detach yourself emotionally from the whole situation.
You just have to be cold toward it. You can't get involved because if you do, you will just be discouraged and distressed.
And so the girl who was so unfortunately crippled was treated more and more as a thing and more and more as a vegetable, more and more as a non-human. But for some reason, the young nurse about whom Rebecca Pipit has written decided not to take the low road. She decided to take a different approach. She decided that she would not treat this person like everyone else had treated her. So she would come into the room when she was on duty and she would sing to her and she would encourage her and bring her little gifts, which she knew could never be opened. One day, when things were especially difficult and it would have been easy for the young nurse to take out her frustrations on the patient, she was especially kind. It was Thanksgiving Day and the nurse said to the patient, I was in a cruddy mood this morning, Eileen, because it was supposed to be my day off. But now that I'm here, I'm glad I wouldn't have wanted to miss seeing you on Thanksgiving Day. Do you know this is Thanksgiving? And just then the telephone rang and the nurse turned to answer it and looked quickly back at the patient and suddenly she saw something that they had never seen before. Eileen was looking at her and she was crying big damp circles, stained her pillow and she was shaking all over. That was the only human emotion that Eileen ever showed to anybody on that staff.
And a few days later, she died.
The young nurse closed her story in a campus magazine by saying, I keep thinking about her. It occurred to me that I owe her an awful debt except for Eileen. I might never have known what it is like to give myself to someone who could never give anything back.
That is mercy. Mercy is reaching out to those who cannot do anything for you. Mercy is reaching out to those who have nothing to give back to you. Mercy is loving them through the love and mercy of our God. And the Bible says, blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. The Beatitude ends with the promise, as they all do.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. And here is an inescapable principle that is laid down in the word of God by Jesus Christ.
With what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye meet it shall be measured to you again. Matthew seven verse two. If you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you forgive not men, their trespass is. Neither will your father forgive your trespasses. James to 13 says he shall have judgment without mercy that have shown no mercy.
I don't understand all of the trade offs, but there is a principle in the word of God that says somehow the way we exhibit the graces of God to others is determinative in the way we ourselves receive them.
Or to put it backwards. We have the ability.
To express the mercy and grace of God.
For one simple reason, and that is that we have ourselves experienced the mercy and grace of God in our lives.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Do you see the point of it? How dare we not extend mercy to anyone who comes to us for mercy when so much mercy has been extended to us? Now, we who have been forgiven such a great debt. Walk around through life and everywhere we go, we see people who need mercy. And sometimes we recoil from the need. Don't wait. Let's just be honest. Have you bumped up against an incorrigible recently? Have you been next to an unlovely in the last week? Has someone come up and tried to hug your neck and you couldn't stand the stench of them, so you pushed them away?
You say, I don't like to be around people like that. Mercy is doing for others what God has done for you.
Mercy is just being a little God in your world, if I can use that term, it's just being the God of mercy and grace to the people who need mercy and grace that you can give. Do you know men and women? We are so hard on each other. We are really hard on each other. We don't allow too many mistakes, do we? We're pretty, pretty tough on one another. I love this old bit of dog role that I have in my file from years back. It goes like this. There's so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us that it hardly behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us. You know, I kind of like that. That kind of gets to the core of the way we are. We need to be merciful and gracious to one another. We need to cut each other some slack. Is one of my friends. We've got to give each other some wabble room.
There was a pastor who had a deacon in his church who was a perfectionist about everybody and everything. And he heard something about a church member, which he did not like. And this particular church member had been asked to teach a Sunday school class.
Well, the pastor said he got a phone call from this deacon and the deacon wanted to have a specially called deacons meeting to expose some matter concerning his fellow member who was asked to teach a Sunday school class. The thing he wanted to expose was absolutely nothing of deep significance. And as the meeting opened, the pastor said, I began to see what was going on with this perfectionist unmerciful deacon. So I said, I'll be happy to hear the rest of the story if I can tell you a story first. And this is the story that he told in one of the great and largest churches in Christendom. A man was asked to preach a sermon. The man known as a loud mouth was sometimes sincere, but mostly in trouble.
And it was known among his associates that under emotional pressure. On one occasion, he had uttered some curse words. In fact, on one occasion he had been heard taking the Lord's name in vain. And he had led some believers astray from Christ teaching into a wrong doctrine. And the preacher said, I asked the deacons if they thought it proper, that this kind of a man should have been asked to preach the sermon in that church. And they looked at one another and could not believe that I would even ask them such a question altogether. They said, No, sir. A man like that is not fit to be preaching. Gentlemen, I said, the man I have just described is the apostle Peter who preached the first sermon in the Jerusalem church on the day of Pentecost several weeks before that occasion. He denied the Lord he Kirst using profanity. He led the disciples back to fishing when they'd been told to go and preach. And God set him aside to preach the inaugural sermon for the Christian church.
Mm hmm. I sure am glad God doesn't treat me the way some folks do. Aren't you? Aren't you glad that God deals with us out of a heart of mercy and love? Am I saying that that means we can just go and do whatever we want to do and God winks at it? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that God is a God of mercy and love and grace. And as I've said to you folks, often, he's the God of second chances. He's the God who comes and takes the broken pieces of our lives and makes something beautiful out of the relics.
God is merciful. Blessed are they who are merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
I want to share with you one more illustration before we close so that you don't leave here just hearing the words. Blessed are the merciful and the concept of mercy doesn't get through to your soul. There is a book written by Alan Knight Charmeuse called High Wind at Noon.
In the book, he tells a story of a man by the name of Peter Home, who is a world famous engineer.
He built great bridges. He built railroads and tunnels in many parts of the world. And at one time, he was the most famous and wealthy engineer in the world. And then his life fell apart and he came to failure and poverty and sickness. In this story, he returned to his little village where he had been born and together with his wife and his little girl. He eked out a meager living. Peter home had a neighbor in this little village who owned a fierce dog. Peter warned him that the dog was dangerous, but the old man just cursed him and said, Hold your tongue, you cursed Popper.
In the story, one day, Peter home came back to his house and he found the dog at the throat of his little girl. He tore the dog away, but it was too late in the teeth of that dog had gone too deeply and had taken the life of his daughter. The sheriff came and shot the dog and the neighbors were so angry at the man who had allowed this to happen that they wouldn't relate to him.
In fact, they lived in an agricultural community. And when the time for sowing came, they wouldn't sell him any seed to sow his farm. They wouldn't sell him any they wouldn't give him any.
They wouldn't allow him any. They were literally trying to pay him back because of what he had let happen through his dog to that little girl. Whenever the man walked down the street in the town, the people of the village would sneer at him and swear at him in. Peter home was not like that. In fact, he found that he could not sleep at night thinking about his neighbor. And in the story, very early one morning, he got up, he went to his shed. He got his last half bushel of barley seed, climbed over the fence into the field that had been newly plowed by his enemy.
And he sold his neighbor's field and nobody knew about it until the crop came.
And then it was quite evident what had happened because there was a whole part of Peter's farm that was bare and there was a whole part right next to it in his enemies field that had grown up in barley when the seeds came up.
They revealed what Pierde had done. And the story ends with this lesson.
Mercy requires that we so good seed in our enemies field.
Wow. Even though it means that part of our own field will be bare.
Anyone want to sign up for that course today? That's a hard one in it.
Mercy requires that we so goods seed in our enemies field, even though part of our field remains bare.
You say, Pastor Jeremiah, I don't know that that's humanly possible. I agree. The only way you can live a life like that is when God, through his son, puts a piece of Jesus in your heart through the Holy Spirit. And you spiritually begin to live as if God were alive within you. And you show mercy.
You know, the way of the world is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The way of the world is revenge. The way of the world is hate. The way of the world is. I'll pay you back for what you did.
But one day, that cycle of the way of the world was broken. One day, a man called Jesus came offering to us a higher and a better way to live. Men mocked him and laughed at him, and they crucified him, thinking that it was over and his mouth would be silenced. And yet, as he hung upon the cross.
Mursi surrounded him and the thief hanging next to him said, Would you forgive me?
And our lord opened the circle wide enough to include him and he was forgiven and entered into paradise. And I am like you. I stand today at the foot of that cross and the circle has been widened enough to include me. And I, who am deserving of death and judgment because the wages of my sin is death. I have stepped into the circle of God's mercy and have been forgiven.
Oh, the wideness of his mercy, how he loves us and what I want to say to you today as we close our Bibles is that no matter what you have done or how you may have offended someone or offended God, the mercy that was displayed on Calvary is wide enough to include you. God will forgive you. You say I don't deserve to be forgiven. That's why you need mercy. If we deserved to be forgiven, that wouldn't be mercy. We would have justice. None of us need justice. We need mercy.
And God will extend that to you if you will accept it. Let us pray. Father. We need to learn how to sow seed in the field of our enemy, even when it means that part of our field is left bare.
Help us. Lord, help us to understand that there is joy in mercy. There is happiness in mercy. And in the measure in which we extend mercy to others, we have mercy extended to us. My lord and my God, I thank you today that you have not dealt with me after my desserts.
You have not made me stand next to my sin and pay for it.
But you have taken upon yourself my guilt and my sin paid the penalty in full and in mercy. You have included me in your plan. Father, I have some friends who need desperately to sense the mercy of God in their life.
Help them to come and receive it. Help them to understand that there's nothing they must do. There's not anything they can do to merit this mercy. It is absolutely freely given by a God whose heart is filled with love for them, and as they receive the mercy which he extends.
They then can go and be merchants of mercy to others.
There are some who were holding out for justice with their neighbor, with an associate in business break their heart today with the mercy that has been extended to them.
And may they go in that love and mercy to offer the same to those who have offended them. The power of your word explodes into our life and we welcome it today. Change us to be conformed into the image of our Lord. In Jesus name, I pray.
Well, thank you so much for listening today as we have continued our discussion of the Beatitudes from Matthew, Chapter five, our large teaching on how to be happy in Christ.
These are counter intuitive to the way we do life. Most of the time. And when we read them at first, we think, Are you kidding me? But no, this is not false information.
This is really deep down important in your soul information, how to find happiness in your life. Tomorrow, we're going to talk about happy hour at the holy holiest. Scares a lot of people, but this was really important. You don't want to miss tomorrow. Thanks for listening.
The message you just heard came from Shadow Mountain Community Church and Dr. David Jeremiah, the senior pastor. Is God touching your life through Turning Point? Write us about it. A Turning Point. Post office box 38 38. San Diego, California. Nine two one six three. Visit our Web site. David Jeremiah dot org for its slash here. Ask for your copy of David's new Bible study. John. The difficulty of Christ. It's part of the Jeremiah Bible study series and Jaws for a gift of any amount. You can also download the Free Turning Point mobile app for your smartphone or tablet or search in your app store for the keywords Turning Point ministries to access our programs and resources. With just a 10 visit. David Jeremiah dot org for this week's radio. For details, I'm Gary. Who'd Flint join us tomorrow as we continue how to be happy. According to Jesus, that's here on Turning Point with Dr David Jeremiah.
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