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Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #77 --- Mercy
Quotations on Mercy (Set No. 2)
[Read Micah 6:8.] The love of mercy of which Micah spoke is not some sweet and fragrant flower which we are to nourish and protect within our own hearts. It is a vigorous and outgoing discipline which is meant to be expressed in an attitude toward and service for other men.
Mercy is an elemental Christian way of expressing faith. ... We see it in the activities of those who serve with kindly sympathy and fellow-feeling.
None of us had difficulty in showing loving mercy toward those whom we love, the lovable persons upon whom we depend for meaningful living. But the real test of mercy is proven when in the spirit of Micah, we love and serve those who are unlovable and unworthy of our help.
—Charles L. Allen, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 13, 1960.
Mercy is the heart of God toward us in Christ.
—William M. Anderson, Jr., Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Aug. 20, 1923.
The merciful soul will find the gospel the way of mercy and salvation. Mercy begets mercy, and all human alienations may be melted into love. Fellowship near the throne is for all them who forgive as they would be forgiven. The blessing here is on an ascending scale. We forgive our fellows, and are forgiven in turn by our heavenly Father. Forgiving our fellowmen is the foundation of being forgiven from on high. John asked the question as follows: "If we love not our brother whom we have seen, how can we love God whom we have not seen?" (1 John 4:20.)
—J.A. Lord, Christian Standard, Cincinnati, Ohio, Oct. 16, 1920.
Mercifulness is something more than an outward act of kindness and service. It is an attitude of the mind and heart. It is a disposition of the soul. It is forgiving. It sees all men and women, friends and foes, with the warm, brotherly, kindly, forgiving attitude that God and Jesus show toward us. Unless we have this merciful attitude towards our fellows He will not have it towards us.
—William Haney McKinney, Christian Standard, Cincinnati, Ohio, Oct. 7, 1939.
Mercy is an outgoing love which is dependent upon a deliberate self-identification with one's fellowman.
—David Holland, Beauregard Daily News, DeRidder, La., Dec. 23, 1988.
If one loves mercy he is not too concerned about the reaction of others to his acts of mercy. He is not seeking publicity nor applause. He isn't kind for policy sake.
—David Holland, Beauregard Daily News, DeRidder, La., Feb. 11, 1994.
[Read Micah 6:8.] If a man has the right relationship with his God, surrenders himself, his home, his business, and his affairs into the hands of God and walks humbly with God, he will deal justly and mercifully with his fellowmen. Just dealings with others is the outward expression of right relationship with God.
—Thomas Martin Kennerly, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, May 19, 1950.
Mercy begins with the refusal to be ruled by retaliation against those whom we have decreed deserve what is coming to them. Mercy fights against hoping that the day will come when they will truly hang themselves on their own gallows of dishonesty and deceit.
So, the first expression of mercy is a firm NO to our hopes for revenge and retaliation. Mercy says a firm NO to the rule of hate and bitter resentment within ourselves.
And then, mercy struggles against the all too eager opportunity to ventilate hate, in order to express an affirmative, longsuffering YES to the one against whom we have built our case. Mercy struggles 70 times seven against hate-filled bitterness and agonizes 70 times seven with a YES of forgiving love that really goes against our own grain.
To be merciful is to endure a stressful tension within ourselves, because we will usually want to see our enemies caught, revealed, and strung up by their own deeds, and yet we are to submit ourselves to a higher power than that of our own wills. be ruled by the power of redemptive love which recognizes and abhors the evil of the other, and yet never gives up hoping for the salvation of the other.
—Bobby J. McMillan, Amarillo Daily News, Amarillo, Texas, Feb. 18, 1984.
Mercy is not a mere sentimental tenderness; it is not pity for the world’s misfortunes; it is a practical love which energizes the faculties, stirs every limb and grasps the opportunity to serve. Mercy is more than love, for love is like a friend who visits you when you are well, but mercy is like a physician who visits you when you are sick. ...
In the beatitude, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,” we enter the gate beautiful and stand before the throne. Mercy is an exalted grace. On its wings man rises and attains the nearest approach to Deity.
There are two aspects to the Christian life: inward piety and outward charity, and each is dependent upon the other. Piety cannot flourish unless it finds expression in outward charity. Piety is love for God, charity love for men. ... In Christ we have the perfect balance of the two, love for God and love for man. Christ recites the parable of the good Samaritan, and then He asked, “Who was neighbor to him who fell among thieves?” and they answered, “He that showed mercy.”
—Charles R. Neel, Salt Lake Herald-Republican, Salt Lake City, Utah, Dec. 18, 1911.
Mercy refers to a loving state of heart, in which there is no tingle of jealousy, no root of selfishness. Justice and truth and peace can rule the world only in proportion as the hearts of mankind are purged of those spiteful, war breeding twin sisters--selfishness and jealousy.
—C.W. Sidebotham, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Sept. 12, 1921.
Mercy is the conscience of Justice, and forbids its being cruel; Justice raises the rod, Mercy forbids the blow; Justice says "pay the uttermost farthing." Mercy cries forgive the debt; Justice puts the offender in prison, there to remain until he has atoned for his crime, Mercy unlocks the prison door and bids the captive go free; Justice inflicts wounds, Mercy pours upon them a balm that heals them; Justice presents a stern face, Mercy a smiling one; the former makes men quake with fear, the latter causes them to tremble with gratitude; Justice punishes, Mercy forgives; Justice vindicates laws, Mercy prevents cruelty; Justice is a strong hand, Mercy a still small voice; Justice is born of the head, Mercy of the heart.
Of right, these great qualities of the mind and heart ought not to be separated; but go hand in hand--mercy should season justice. This is their relative position in the economy of heaven, and the nearer the government of men, whether in a family or national capacity, approaches the heavenly pattern the more perfect will it be. Both these qualities are attributes of Deity, as is abundantly proven in the history we have of the dealings of God with His people. They have their habitation about His throne, and surround it with an aureola of glory, surpassing in splendor the glorious rays of the sun. In administering law among men, the wheels of justice are frequently clogged by popular clamor or the self-interest of parties. The same causes that clog justice, smother the voice of mercy.
—B.H. Roberts, The Contributor, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 1881.
Mercy is primarily a thing of the inner life. It is a disposition of the soul. It is an attitude of the mind. It is to have a heart of love and pity and compassion. It is to have Christ's way of looking at men. It is to have a heart made genuinely warm by brotherliness. It is to feel toward our friends and foes somewhat as Christ felt toward His.
The merciful man gives and serves. ... The promise to the merciful is that "they shall obtain mercy." (Matthew 5:7.) This does not mean that the Lord is hiring us to be merciful. The merciful man receives mercy because he is capable of receiving it. ... Mercy is an attribute of God, and he who makes all of the necessary adjustments, and daily seeks to approximate His matchless character, gradually grows into His likeness. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."
—Bruce E. Brown, Zion's Ensign, Lamoni, Iowa, March 26, 1931.
[Read Romans 15:4-13.] Mercy is truly the great support of hope. Mercy is a motive which originates in God, not in us. Or rather, the very things in us which hinder the coming of the good we hope for are taken out of the way by the operation of mercy. Our ignorance, our weakness, our sinfulness, are the very things which mercy deals with. The mercy of God is the foundation and cause of all our justification, and our hope of salvation.
But we are called upon to "honor God for His mercy." We can honor God for His mercy in the first place by acknowledging His mercy, and our need of it, and by rendering praise and thanks for the same. Secondly, we honor God for His mercy by making the right use of mercy by making the right use of mercy when we wait for its fruit in ourselves, and when we extend its operation to others.
We await the fruit of mercy in ourselves by patience. The work of God in us is so great that we must give it time. It is good for us to become acquainted with ourselves, including our weaknesses, in order to appreciate more fully the goodness of the Author of our salvation. The story of God's dealing with the human race; that is, the Scriptures, gives rise to hope. The full story of God's dealings with ourself, if we wait it out to the accomplishment of patience, has the same result.
We extend the operation of mercy to others when, in the words of St. Paul, we are "of one mind towards another, according to Jesus Christ." We are here called on to consider the value of our neighbor to Christ, rather than his value to ourselves. If our neighbor has any present or future value to Christ, we are called on to "receive" him as "Christ also hath received you unto the honor of God." Christ "received" us, not as owing it to our good works, but "unto the honor of God," for it is honorable to God to show mercy to such as ourselves. We must imitate the mercy of God, in our dealings with our neighbor, in order to be "children of your Father Who is in Heaven."
—Damian L. Cummins, The Catholic Tribune, St. Joseph, Mo., Dec. 4, 1937.
"To love mercy." (Micah 6:8.) We must delight in it. There is no treasure that we can lay away in the storehouse of our memory that can compare with the treasure of a kind deed done in a loving spirit. There is no scepter that can come out of the past and haunt us so fearfully as the ghost of opportunities to serve our fellowmen.
—Brooks I. Dickey, San Antonio Daily Express, San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 22, 1909.
Mercy is the cultivation and practice of the spirit of good will. It is the practice of the golden rule in life. We must do unto others as we would have them do unto us. ... It is glorious to contemplate what would be the result if all our relationships of life were based upon the teaching of the golden rule. So long as each of us put ourselves and our interests above that of our neighbors, all the laws of the land, and the discussions between men, will fail of meeting the problems which we face from day to day. God requires more than justice in the relationships of men--He demands mercy, too. He insists that we be interested in the welfare of our neighbor, as well as in our own.
—A.G. Fitzgerald, Houston Post-Dispatch, Houston, Texas, Sept. 3, 1928.
To be merciful is to show the attitude of understanding and sympathy. It does not condone wrong, it evinces a Godlike attitude toward the wrongdoer. Instead of thinking the worst, it thinks the best.
But "merciful" involves more than attitude. It involves action. It grants forgiveness. When the Christian reflects on the extent of God's mercy he has received, it makes any mercy he (the Christian) shows seem most insignificant. Having received an "ocean" of mercy, how can he fail to give a "cup full"?
Jesus not only indicates that being merciful is a quality to be desired--it is also a quality that will be rewarded. God is far more disposed to grant mercy daily to the merciful than to the unmerciful. One's fellow man is similarly disposed. The merciful "shall obtain mercy."
—H.A. Hunderup, Jr., Baptist Message, Alexandria, La., April 21, 1960.
A great heart deals in mercy more frequently than in justice.
—W.H. Johnson, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, July 5, 1906.
Men must be firm, but it is their capacity for being merciful which marks their spiritual progress.
—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 6, 1922.
Mercy and forgiveness are so closely integrated that where mercy exists, forgiveness is bound to find exercise. Love of mercy will not allow us to view passively or indifferently those who fail to seek our way of life, but will cause us to yearn after them with a love and compassion such as Christ showed for the multitudes. In other words, we will at all times be obsessed with a hearty desire to do good to others, regardless of their actions.
—Dorothy M. Pritchard, Wesleyan Young People's Journal, Syracuse, N.Y., June 1945.
The fingers of mercy blossom like a rose.
—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 17, 1927.
Mercy never frowns. —Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, Feb. 2, 1928.
Goodness and mercy are the bond servants of the kingdom of God.
—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 12, 1928.
Mercy makes no distinctions.
—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, May 31, 1928.
"Be ye therefore merciful as your Father also is merciful." (Matthew 5:7.) This text is as much a command as any of those that were handed down amidst the thunder and lightning of Mount Sinai. There is no attribute that belongs to the Christian so important as the attribute of mercy. As an attribute of God it is said to reach unto the clouds, and if God abounds in mercy, so must the Christian. This is one of God's attributes which He can give His children and which they must have above all other qualities.
It is impossible for any man to be a Christian and not be merciful to those who are merciful to him. First, because God our Father is merciful and He demands that we shall be like Him. God is merciful to the just and unjust, sending His sunshine and rain upon both alike. We are told that God delighteth in mercy. I believe that if mercy is extol from us, it does not amount to very much. Again, if we expect God's mercy, we must exercise mercy. God pays us back in our own coin by using unmerciful men as instruments for our punishment.
We are to be merciful to the miserable, the afflicted; the tempted; to those who are weak and bereaved and poor. We are to be merciful to those who have offended us. This is the note of Christ's sermon, "Pray for them that despitefully use you." (Matthew 5:44.)
This injunction should be carried out into our business affairs. I see a disposition on the part of some employers to make men work for what is not sufficient for their labor. I say this is unmerciful. Any corporation or any man who employs a workman for less wages than he is worth is a robber and thief in the sight of Almighty God. It is simply taking advantage of the poor man. This evil exists all over the country, where poor people have to work day and night, eking out a miserable existence for monied corporations. There are some who do not allow their clerks to sit down from the time they enter upon their work in the morning until the close of the day. This, of course, brings on disease, which leads to an untimely grave. These men are murderers before God. There is no mercy where a corporation compels poor women to work for wages, not half sufficient, and to stand up twelve or fourteen hours a day treating them as machines. Corporations are responsible for the lives of those employed and they should look to their health and comfort. I believe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is the only thing that can solve the problem of capital and labor. Just as soon as capital obeys the injunction, "Be ye merciful," that very moment will all trouble cease.
—A.R. Holderby, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 18, 1900.
There is no investment on earth that pays so large dividends as deeds of mercy. On the contrary, the merciless man is the surest to be punished. There are victims that forget, but they are few, and as the habitually merciless man never asks forgiveness, no wonder most memories embalm him for sure revenge.
He gets his lash, and all the world laughs at the retribution. If all the punishment of the merciless could be stood along Wall street they would fill it from end to end. More injury and more ruin in business careers are explained by the intentional blows of men who have been refused mercy in some time, and when he is all animal he can work measureless harm.
Therefore, do not deserve revenge; do not encumber your career by merciless deeds. On the other hand, lay up stores of charity and long suffering. Refuse to press an advantage that for the present seems profitable, but would crush the other fellow.
He may not remember your mercy but, if not, he is lower than the brute, for a dog remembers mercy that throws him a bone. Fact is, all men do remember mercy. The sense of gratitude is not always to be found unless it is due for a mercy. Then it is always found, except in the hopeless degenerate. Therefore it is such a high priced investment.
Mercy is high toned and chivalrous. It marks the true gentleman. It indicates the strong and capable. It is a first class personal asset, for it reveals conscious power--power to dispense with the other fellow and still have enough. It is an unfailing sign of a large way of thinking and a broad view of human life. Mercy is a token of radical honesty, and shows that a man thoroughly understands himself. He shows mercy because he knows he has needed it, and may need it again.
Never since man came on the earth were the changes of personal situation so quick. No one is fixed. Our interdependence is simply unthinkable. The fidelity or falsity of an unknown agent on the other side of the globe may tomorrow wreck the New Yorker's fortune or increase it. The only safe rule is to seek to live the mutually harmless life.
We are on the even of a day when this view will be taken by all who do not wish to see human society tear itself to pieces. The greater the need of mercy. It will become the master passion of the race that it may dwell in peace.
Proffer the lenity and you double it. Do not wait to be asked, and you tower like a fortress of goodness in the eyes of the man you could destroy. He will tell it, be sure of that. Your fame will grow and many will give you your success, even thrusting prosperity upon you. It is a great career of which we are writing, and it needs the gentlehearted man.
The severe, stern, harsh man is mortal like the rest of us, and will sooner or later whisper, "Feed me with a spoon, for I faint." They who feed his senile lips hate him while they bend over him. But he who showed clemency is strong in his age.
—Emory J. Haynes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Mo., March 3, 1910.