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 in his possession! To bear another’s burdens is one of the great privileges God in Christ has given to us. To come alongside someone who is struggling under a load they are carrying and to lighten it with comfort and compassion is the call for every Christian. Of course, there is no greater example of bearing another’s burden then the one displayed by our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus came into this world to bear the burden of our sin through His sinless life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection.
Paul exhorted us, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Remember, when we encounter the burdens of others, we are not to see them as obstacles in the pathway to where we are going. Rather, the burdens of others offer us opportunities to be the hands and feet of our loving Savior.
Our second “bear” is to forbear, and the degree to which we are able to 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 who are in need of a Savior moment by moment — we will find it far easier to forbear from the sin that so easily entangles us (Hebrews 12:1). We will also find it far easier to forbear from reacting with anger or disgust to 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. Never once did Jesus respond in kind to those who hurt and persecuted Him. We read that “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 He asked His Father in heaven to forgive those who were carrying out His torturous execution.
When Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy,” He set in motion a beautiful beatitude that encompasses both the “bears” that we are to possess and practice in the lives of others. When we do that, we are most like Jesus.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!