- How would you define mercy?
Matt defined mercy as “the giving of undeserved acceptance and blessing.” Think about the word “undeserved.”
- When have you been an undeserving recipient of kindness or mercy?
- What was your reaction to that kindness or mercy?
Matt talked about “the fringes”—the edge of society filled with people who are “farthest from God imaginable."
- What does it look like for people to be "on the fringes”
Read John 8:2–11.
In this passage, a group of “scribes and Pharisees” paraded a woman who was caught in the act of adultery in front of Jesus and a group of people he was teaching. They wanted to bring the full force of the law down upon this woman, but Jesus chose to be gentle and merciful.
- If you're honest, do you most often side with the scribes and Pharisees, condemning those who wrong you, or with Jesus, showing mercy?
- Why do you think we often behave as the scribes and Pharisees did in John 8?
The fifth Beatitude forces us to reckon with the mercy of God. Have we received it, and if so, do we extend it to others?
- How would you answer those questions?
- In what ways can you practice extending the mercy of God to others today? To whom can you share God's mercy today?
The Bible pulls no punches. Before receiving the mercy of God, we were his enemies. We were all on the fringes! “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph 2:4–5, emphasis added).
We have been pulled from the fringes of our rebellion against God, the one who is “rich in mercy” and who will “show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:4, 7). Blessed are those who have received this mercy and who extend this mercy, for they will get more of it.