“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

Mercy is compassion for people in need. The noun “eleos” (mercy) always deals with what we see of pain, misery and distress (results of sin, either direct or indirect). The world prefers to insulate itself against the pains and suffering of mankind. Instead, the Christian extends relief, cures, heals, and helps where possible.

We cannot claim to have repented of our sins if we are unmerciful toward the sins of others when they repent. To show mercy is to receive mercy. To forgive and to be forgiven, to show mercy and to receive mercy...these belong together, as Jesus illustrated in His parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35). In Jesus’ sermon contextually, it is the meek who are also the merciful. To be meek is to acknowledge to others that we are sinners. To be merciful is to have compassion on others, for they are sinners, too. Mercy is slow to anger and quick to attempt to understand. Mercy gives allowances for confusion and misunderstanding, and seeks to clarify before judgment is cast. Mercy is a breath of fresh air to the embattled pilgrim. Mercy allows for restoration and healing of relationships. Mercy does not choose to take a brother to court, but deals with the sin within the church (I Corinthians 6:1-8; Matthew 18:15-17). Mercy receives mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

“In heart” indicates the kind of purity to which Jesus is alluding, as the words “in spirit” indicated the kind of poverty He meant. The emphasis is on the inward and moral in contrast to the outward and ceremonial or physical. The difference is between sincerity and hypocrisy.

Now one is following the law of morality gladly because one’s will is given over to Christ, instead of only obeying the moral laws outwardly but inwardly lusting and wanting to commit adultery, etc. So, the pure in heart are utterly sincere. Their relationship with both God and man is free from falsehood. Their very heart, including their thoughts and motives, is pure, unmixed with anything devious, ulterior or base.

There are no secret sins. Hypocrisy and deceit are disgusting to them. They are without guile. Yet, how few of us live one life and live it in open honesty. We are tempted to wear different masks and play different roles, according to each occasion, or to gain our own desires and hidden agendas. This is nothing more than play acting or hypocrisy. Some people weave around themselves such a tissue of lies that they have trouble knowing who they really are and are constantly worried that they will become exposed or known for their secret schemes. Jesus Christ alone, among men, was absolutely pure in heart, being entirely guileless. One must become pure in heart if one is to see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

The sequence of thought from purity of heart to peacemaking is natural because one of the most frequent causes of conflict is intrigue or hidden agendas. Openness and sincerity are essential to all true reconciliation. Peacemaking is practicing honesty. Conflict is a natural part of true discipleship, since we cannot compromise truth but must be faithful to the Lord and stand up for righteousness. But, we should never be responsible for conflict because of our own selfishness or sin. We should always be gentle, humble, and graciously kind in sharing and following truth. If there is conflict, the sin manifested in anger, intolerance and attack will come from the person rejecting truth and/or reconciliation. We will remain forever peacemakers with the Holy Spirit in us and working through us. We are called to peace. We are to actively “pursue” peace. We are to “strive for peace with all men”, and so far as it depends on us, we are to “live peaceably with all”. (I Corinthians 7:15, I Peter 3:11, Hebrews 12:14, Romans 12:18).

For the peace of God is not peace at any price! We are called to share truth with grace and mercy to a brother in error and exhort him to repent, thus bringing reconciliation between him and God, and him and his fellow man. But, true peace and true forgiveness are costly treasures.

God forgives us only when we repent. Jesus told us to do the same. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” (Luke 17:3). That is why we try to be peacemakers and bring others back to reconciliation between themselves and their fellow men and themselves and God. We cannot take on the authority of God and forgive someone who has not repented just because we do not fear the Scriptures, but instead fear the person and want peace at any price. No, we are called to bring peace and truth to people, even if we are persecuted for it. As peacemakers, we can bring friendships back together by sharing truth in a gentle manner, recognizing our own worthlessness. We should hold others in higher esteem than ourselves; thus, being faithful to allow the Holy Spirit to use us in bringing the person back into peace with God.

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

It is inevitable that, if one is truly a peacemaker sharing truth with people who are separated from God and other people because of their sins or selfishness, persecution will surely follow.

Persecution is simply the clash between two irreconcilable value systems. How did Jesus expect His disciples to react under persecution? “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:12)

We know that we are being effective in fighting the enemy. We know that we are being faithful in serving and following Jesus and becoming like Him. We are not to respond as an unbeliever in retaliation or anger. We are not to sulk like a child, licking our wounds in self-pity or allowing bitterness to ensnare us. We are not to “grin and bear it”, as a coward or hypocrite. Even less are we to enjoy it like a masochist (a person who gets pleasure from suffering). No, we are to be like Christ who asked, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Jesus, crucified on the cross said: “...Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do...” (Luke 23:34).

We are to be faithful to God, share truth in a gentle spirit, and rejoice when persecution comes our way. We know it comes because we are becoming more like Jesus. Though He was sinless, Jesus was crucified due to His faithfulness to the perfect value system of God, which brings perfection back to earth.

We are to rejoice because we are suffering (as Jesus said, “...on my account...”) on account of our loyalty to Jesus’ standards of truth and righteousness. Certainly the apostles learned this lesson well. After being beaten and threatened by the Sanhedrin: “...they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” (Acts 5:41) Look at Stephen’s attitude after being stoned and left dying: “And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge...” (Acts 7:51-60).

Every Christian is to be a peacemaker, and every Christian is to expect persecution, opposition, criticism, and slander. Those who hunger for righteousness will suffer for the righteousness they crave. If one is not criticized, then one needs to evaluate themselves to see if they are truly faithful to the Lord or loving themselves, their families and friends more than God. When a Christian is criticized, he needs to evaluate the criticism to see if there is any truth in it, or if it is only the result of sharing truth with people in a gentle, holy spirit. We need to remember Luke’s words: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you...” (Luke 6:26). Universal popularity was as much the lot/result of the false prophets, speakers, compromisers and watered-down gospel preachers as persecution is to the true follower of Jesus Christ. See Jeremiah 14:13-15.

The Beatitudes paint a true view of a Christian disciple. First, the disciple is alone on his knees before God, acknowledging his spiritual poverty and mourning over it. This makes him meek and gentle in all his relationships, since honesty compels him to allow others to think of him what before God he confesses himself to be. Yet, he is far from accepting his sinfulness, for he hungers and thirsts after righteousness, longing to grow in grace and goodness.

A Christian’s relationship with God does not cause him to withdraw from society, nor is he insulated from the world’s pain. On the contrary, he is in the thick of it, showing mercy to those battered by adversity, problems, tests and sin. He is transparently sincere in all his dealings and seeks to play a constructive role as a peacemaker. Yet, he is insulted and persecuted on account of the righteousness for which he stands and Christ with Whom he is identified. Even though he is slandered and falsely accused after showing mercy; yet, he does not hold bitterness or malice, but counts it all joy, as Jesus did.

Matthew 5:38-44 reads: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

People today often claim to be Christian, yet display the fruits of the flesh. They display the traits of an unregenerate person and are often in open rebellion. Statistics reveal that there is little difference between those claiming to serve Jesus and the honest agnostic or atheist. All lie, cheat, steal, fornicate, commit adultery, malign, slander, conspire, frame, sue, etc. Even in leadership, there is little difference. Many pastors today employ the same tactics to discredit those whom they are against. Out of selfishness, jealousy, envy, bitterness, and strife...hatred grows, and they sin.

These leaders conspire, gossip, slander, drop comments to those whom they know are close to the innocent servant, making them doubt their credibility. And, as Samson would say, “you slept with my heifer.” If you can even meet with these people (since much of the time they will avoid you or even refuse to meet with you), they manifest themselves through aggression, personal attacks, and criticisms. They even directly lie to cover up their conspiracies, gossiping, and use the sins of others to save face while talking with you. Oh yes, they can preach real nice about how to treat a fellow believer in a Christ-like, gentle spirit of reconciliation. But, when it is their turn to live what they preach, all manner of godliness leaves them. Their innate person exposes itself for all who possess discernment to see. Instead of restoring relationships, they break confidence with the confessee and turn him over to the civil authorities in order to protect themselves.

Ladies and gentlemen, do not follow the personality cult you see behind the pulpit. Follow the personality of Jesus Christ!

Study the characteristics of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and appropriate them as the Word promises. Submit yourself under the Lordship of the Scriptures, and with diligence and determination be grafted daily into His divine nature. We are never divine, but we can by our choice place our life/pride daily under the blood and allow the Word and the Spirit to change our personality and character into His likeness. Then we are able to respond and behave as Jesus would, calmly and without prejudice or anger, always exercising love. Instead of listening to the proud and jealous assassinate a servant of the Lord’s reputation, we can tell them that we are going to talk to the other person, relaying what is being said. We want them to come together so that truth, reconciliation, and restoration can take place. If the gossiper refuses, then the guilt is self-evident.

Since all the Beatitudes describe what every Christian disciple is intended to be and should become, we conclude that the condition of being despised, rejected, slandered and persecuted is as much a part of the Christian life as being pure in heart or merciful. Yes, Scripture tells us that the Beatitudes are Jesus’ own definition of what every Christian’s attitude/personality should be!


WMI is now focusing on the following 42 nations: The United States, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Philippines, India, Jamaica, Honduras, Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, Burundi, The Congo, Iran, Sweden, Norway, England, Russia, Germany, Finland, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Yugoslavia, Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Turkey. In these countries we are trying to saturate the nation with the prophetic warning through articles, newspapers, radio, television, etc. We encourage you to study the prophecies on many of these nations on our web site at www.worldministries.org. They will help you know how to pray for each nation. We need intercessors in and for these countries.

© 2001 World Ministries International