Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Matthew 5:7)
Let me start by providing a definition for the two “bears” God has given to every believer throughout the ages:
- Bear – to bear is to carry, support; to hold the weight up
- Forbear – to patiently restrain an impulse to do something; to refrain or abstain from
What incredible blessings these two “bears” bring to every believer who has them within his or her possession! To bear another’s burdens is one of the great privileges God in Christ has given us. To come alongside someone who is struggling under a load they are carrying and to lighten it with comfort and compassion and genuine caring is the call for every Christian.
Of course, there is no greater example of bearing others’ burdens then the one we find in our Lord Jesus Christ, who came into this world to bear the burden of our sin through His sinless life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection.
Scripture commands, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10 ESV). When we encounter the burdens of others, we mustn’t see them as obstacles blocking the pathway to where we are going. Rather, the burdens of others offer opportunities to be the hands and feet of our loving Savior—to follow in the path of good works that our Lord has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10).
Our second “bear” is to forbear, and the degree to which we demonstrate this in our lives will always be rooted in our understanding of our own sins and shortcomings. When we see ourselves for who we truly are—sinners in moment-by-moment need of a Savior—we find it far easier to forbear from judging the sins and shortcomings of others.
Once again, there is no greater example of forbearing than the one we find in our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus never responded in kind to those who reviled and persecuted Him. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). In fact, while hanging on the cross in unimaginable agony, Jesus asked His Father in heaven to forgive those who had caused Him that pain.
When Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy,” He set in motion a breathtakingly lovely beatitude that encompasses both “bears” that you and I are to possess and practice in the lives of others. When we do, we are most like Jesus.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!