I'm shocked that when we planned this series of
messages on the beatitudes a couple of months ago and I picked, or it fell on
my shoulders to speak today. And today is the beatitude, "Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy,"
and that I would have to speak on this at a time when the country is at war in
And it's a sensitive subject for some people. The
latest poles show that seventy-five percent of the American people believe that
the war should be carried out. And eight percent have no feeling. They don't
know, so about twenty percent, or not quite, are opposed to the war. I lived
through the Cold War and they were difficult years because of the differences
of political positions. But there's one thing that I believe in is that by God America is a pretty merciful country. I really
believe that. And I believe that we have never attempted wars to conquer
territory for our self or treasure selfishly. I believe that every war that
America's been in that I can think of, we had ulterior motives that were high
and holier than our enemies would give us credit for.
I've had the privilege of praying with the presidents in the Oval Office going
all the way back to Nixon. And I've known the powers at the highest level for,
wow, almost thirty-forty years. I trust the average American. I really do,
especially when they get into positions of such power.
And I'm praying today for President Bush like
anything. Blessed are the merciful. I could take this Bible verse and apply it
to what's happening today and I could say that I think Bush has been merciful.
He's given several months for.. and it hasn't happened. I believe that the
people there know that without action by some strong power, Saddam Hussein is
going to continue to kill people, cut off tongues, hands, and eyes. He wants to
be the hero of the Arab world by eliminating Israel. We're living in a very
difficult time but I have to tell you that when you go to war as we will and
have through the years, it's important that we have this beatitude in front of
us. "Blessed are the merciful for they shall
Recently, when I was in Germany, two hundred of our
Hour of Power fans, all powerful people, asked me a question. They said,
"How can we get George W. Bush, your President, to forget about the war,
get off that terrible war kick he's on?" I said, "Well I think all
you have to do is convince him that Saddam Hussein is not going to get worse but he's going to get better by himself."
And I said "That's what concerns us because you're all Germans. We came in
and you're free from Adolf Hitler today. But we got a lot of criticism when we
came here. Maybe you young people didn't know it. The criticism we got was,
"why didn't you come in earlier? Why did you wait so long? Why did seven
million Jews have to get burned? Couldn't you see it was bad? He was a bad man,
an evil man. Why didn't you come in quicker?" You say, "We're waiting
for him to drop the bomb on us." That's not merciful thinking. Wow.
So I said, "It's simple, all you have to do is
tell George Bush that this man isn't another Adolf Hitler, that's he's never
going to bomb Israel," wow.
"Blessed are the merciful, they shall obtain mercy."
That's a promise that
God will be here in merciful times. And we're going to see evidences of God's
mercy as this war unfolds and the stories will make us cry, of American
soldiers who are going to be liberating the oppressed Iraqi people and they are
terribly oppressed, and how they have saved some of the little children in
Iraq. Our boys and women and men and soldiers that are over there, why they're
over there, they're the salt of the earth. They're the light of the world. And
if anybody has to be an army invading Iraq, Iraq had better be thankful to God
that's American boys and girls that are going to be doing it.
This text is a promise.
This is a power principle. You get back what
you put out. I think America's very wealthy and very prosperous today partly
because we liberated France even though they may have forgotten, we liberated
Germany, we have been a good country, we have, and we left the bodies of our
boys over there. We took no territory, and we never sent them a bill. We're a
remarkable country. We have been very merciful to our enemies. Look how we
moved into Japan and then into Germany after World War II, that's mercy. "Blessed are the merciful, they shall receive
1) It's a power principle.
2) It's a promise.
3) And it's a prescription for real success.
Can you be merciful in war you say? Yes. Frequently
the commitment to fight is itself an act of mercy. For mercy always extracts a
price. First of all, you have to have the capacity to say okay I'll let you get
by with it. Or you'll have to be able to say,
okay, I'll forgive you. Mercy always extracts a price, a high price. And we
will pay a high price for being merciful enough to try to bring liberation to
the Iraqi people, and hopefully to prevent a much bigger war that has been
planned by the enemy down the road.
I pray that victory will have the hour swift and soon
and I pray that history will say it was an act of mercy by the President of the
United States and by the soldiers and the sailors and the Marines and all the
others. "Blessed are the merciful for they shall
Well, what makes this beatitude so great of course,
is that it's a promise. And secondly, it is a power principle. And third, it is
a prescription for peace and prosperity. It's a promise. It's a promise that there is a God in this world and no matter what evil
and terrible things may happen, He will move in and
will express mercy. Never has the world expressed more mercy than the
Holocaust time. Hitler did his worst, but the world came in and expressed mercy
and tenderness. The word mercy really just means caring, but caring at a profoundly
deep level. The cynic and the atheist will say, you know, look at all these
terrible things, like the Holocaust. And they'll say, how can you believe in a
God of love when there's all this terrible thing happening in the world. The
answer is very simple. When something terrible happens, immediately the
environment changes and a mood of mercy sweeps the good people in the world.
And the good people outnumber the bad people. They really do. And so people
move in quickly to comfort, to encourage, to help, and to heal. And they move
at all levels even political levels.
I heard a story the other day that a friend told
me. It was so cold in Washington D.C that even allthe lawyers had their hands
in their own pockets. Pardon me lawyers. I couldn't resist. That's funny. I
take the jokes about preachers, too so. We have a promise. And the promises in
the Bible that mercy will be there when you can't see or experience the
goodness of God. Psalm 23.
"Surly goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the
Now you're listening to a preacher that's been
round a few years and I want to tell you, only God's goodness and mercy have
been with me all the days of my life. And when things were happening that were difficult
and challenging when I was not experiencing the goodness of God, I'll tell you
what I experienced. I experienced the mercy of God, telephone calls, prayers,
gifts of concern and caring from people of God. God is
so alive and if you don't believe it, look at what human beings do when
something tragic happens. Go back to nine-eleven and see the firemen running
into the fire, risking their own lives, knowing they might not come back, and
over three hundred and sixty five did not. Where is God? He's in the hearts of
people and not just believers. Keep that in mind. Even in the hearts of
unbelievers. God chooses to use whomever He will whether they believe in Him or
not. That's why the human race can be available for God's mercy to be shown.
It's a promise. It's a promise that if you're merciful, you'll be treated
Well Corrie ten Boom is the closest thing to a Protestant saint you could ever
find, and a very dear friend of ours. And she passed away, went to this church
before she died, because she's Dutch, and I'm Dutch, and my wife is Dutch, and
so we kind of got connected. Well Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch girl from the
Netherlands. She had a sister and she had a wonderful father. Her sister Betsy
and Corrie and her father did something that was very illegal. It would get him
The war was on. That's World War II. And Hitler was
rounding up the Jews, and the Jews are trying to escape. And there was a rumor
that there's this one place in Amsterdam if you could get there, actually not
Amsterdam, but not far from it. There's a little clock shop. This man sold
clocks. Walk in as if you're going to buy a clock, and he'll hide you out. That
he'd made a secret hiding place in the back wall, upstairs. And he'd hide you
there until the coast was clear and then you can move on. And if you didn't
know whether you could move on or not, look at the windmills. They're all over
Holland. They still are. And there was an underground network of Dutch people.
That's why the Dutch people are loved by the Jews and vice versa.
And if the windmill fans were straight like a cross, coast is clear. Go up.
They'll hide you.
But if the fans are forming an X they're being watched. Don't
go there. With those simple symbols the conspiracy worked until they were
caught. And Corrie's dad said to her and Betsy, "I don't know. I can't
last long in one of those German prisons. I'm 85 years old, and I'm not well.
But don't worry about me. I'm going to heaven." He was taken to a German
prison. He died 10 days later.
Well, Betsy and Corrie were taken Ravensbrook. Eighty-five thousand Jewish
women were exterminated in that one camp. They would see the chimneys. They
would see the smoke. It was horrible. She said, "Then one afternoon when
they called us all out to line up. It would be something we would every day.
Lined up to see if anybody was missing." And she said, "There was
this one time when it was horrible. Terrible things. Everyone was depressed.
Just as we all lined up suddenly something happened. God
exposed His mercy." What happened? A skylark appeared...Let me read
from her words:
"A skylark appeared and started to sing in the
sky. All of us looked up and all of us listened to the bird's song. I looked at
the bird. Then I looked at the sky, and I thought of Psalm 103, 'As high as the
heaven is above the earth, so high is God's love and mercy over all those who
fear Him." I saw it. O God how I saw it. Great, deep and beautiful. There
in of all the horrible places the mercy of God. He came in a bird. It was the
only we He could get in."
The mercy of God
This beatitude is a promise. It's a promise that God will not leave you without coming to
yousome how, some way, in a touch. Second, this beatitude is a power principle. poIt's a principle that teaches that
what you give will come back to you. If you give
mercy, you'll be treated mercifully. If you treat people with
antagonism, they'll treat you with antagonism. When you say to me, a lot of
people don't like me. I have to think why don't they? Do you not like them?
It's almost impossible for emotions not to rebound. Almost, in the emotional
system, it's like you love people; they'll love you. You treat them nice;
they'll treat you nice. It is a power principle.
Life gives back what we put into it.
Plant a seed and it will grow and give back to you
what the seed was. Jesus said it.
"If you forgive, God will
forgive you. If you forgive not, God will not forgive you."
Because if you do not forgive, why wouldn't God be
merciful enough to forgive you anyway? I'll tell you why. You wouldn't accept
it. It would be a waste. Only the merciful people can accept mercy. A power
principle of mercy. It relates to all of life. It relates to your relationship
to other people. It relates to your attitude toward your own mistakes and
failures. You see, you've got to learn to begin to be merciful to whom? The bad
people who treat you badly? To the people that you let down? Or where do you
begin? Begin with the person you look at in the mirror. Be merciful to yourself. It's almost instinctive for human being to be
unkind and untruthful to himself, this is the place where positive thinking, I
think, really works.
I remember a time when I had laryngitis and I went
to the doctor and I said, "Well I'm going to be okay doctor, I believe in
the power of positive thinking." He said, "Oh." Not very
enthusiastic. He was kind of a negative guy. In fact the older I get I can
admit that he was downright negative. I think he did that so that he could be
secured from ever being called a loser. You paint the bad picture the worst it
could possibly happen. And then if the worst happened he was successful. He
predicted correctly. If it didn't happen he was a miracle worker.
Anyway he said, "Cross your legs." So I crossed my legs. He took a
little pellet hit my knee. Leg jerked up. He said, "See that? That's a
reflex." I said, "Brilliant insight." By this time we were
having fun. And he said, "That's to teach you something. All the positive
thinking in the world could not keep that leg from kicking up." I said,
"You want to bet?" He said, "Don't bet on this. I'm right and
you're wrong." He said, "That is called a reflex and reflexes don't
go through the brain, they come from the spinal cord. So thinking has no power
over a response that's reflexive." Oh. I believed him. Suddenly I realized
he was really bright.
Life gives back what you put out. If you want goodness to come to you, give it out before you get it.
There's a power principle. You want more; you've got to give more. "With what measure you give, it will be given back to you,"
Jesus said. I'm going to treat others the way I want to treat.. others to treat
me, is where this will lead us. This whole theme of mercy leads us to the
golden rule and you know what a power principle the golden rule is. I made a
note here of how I've observed people's response to the golden rule. I have a
The golden rule is not do unto others as
you do to yourself. Hear that?
The golden rule is not doing
unto others as you do to yourself. You don't do good enough to yourself often
The golden rule is not do unto others as they do to you.
The golden rule is do unto others as you would
have them do to you.
You want to be treated mercifully. We all need it
at difference times and stages of life.
Wow. This text is a prescription for
Years ago I heard a story, I think I told it toyou,
maybe twenty years ago. The man who had a dream and he found himself around a
big table. There was loads of food in the middle of the table. It was an
extravagant buffet. And every person around the table had a spoon. The spoon
had a handle four feet long. And he took his spoon, but the spoon was so long,
it would almost hit the people on the other side of the table. And it wasn't
short enough to get the food in the middle of the table. And so he suffered
from hunger. And he said to the escort, "Well this is hell, all that food
and I can't use this spoon. I need a short spoon." And the escort said,
"Where do you think you are? You are in hell." Wow. Then he said in
his dream he saw a table equally large, same food, same people, same long
spoons. But here everybody was eating and enjoying the food, and how did they
do it? The man would take the handle and touch the food, but he didn't have to
bring it back to his mouth. That was impossible. That's why the people in hell
had their problem. They were trying to feed themselves. But here in Heaven,
they took food from the middle of the table and they reached a little further
and fed the person at the other end. Then the person at the other end, would
take his long spoon, food from the middle, and continue it around and return
the favor. And the escort said, "Now, this is Heaven."
The principle is with what
measure you give, you will be given. Be generous and people will treat
you generously. You know where that path leads. That path leads to a sense of
success and a feeling of fulfillment. Blessed are the
merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Finally, never has God done
anything to show how important mercy is until His Son was sacrificed on the
cross. What is the one symbol that stands out in the whole world as the symbol
of Christianity? It's the cross of Jesus Christ. Why? What does the cross stand
for? The cross stands for the mercy of God.
Yes. In the Psalms we read, "Justice and mercy
have kissed each other." The greatest problem in the human family
always has been between the call for justice and the call for mercy. And one
collides with the other. And that's what creates social problems too.
When do you begin to express mercy? When do you
withhold justice? So what did God do? God looked down on the human family and
we were committing sins and we were doing bad things, and there was social
injustice. And sin has to be punished. If sin is not punished then God is
immoral. If sin is not punished than God is not just. So God sensed that
morality, integrity, justice demands that sin be punished. But God's heart of love is a heart of mercy. And He
wants to forgive. How can He forgive without a penalty being bestowed on the
injustice? He said, "I'll take the rap myself. I'll come down in a human
being. I will bear the sins of the world in My Son's body. He will be crucified
on the cross for the sins of the world. Then I can take any sinner and say,
justice demands that I punish you. But your sin has already been punished. My
Son died for you on the cross. So I can bestow mercy to you."
So the cross has become the heart of our salvation.
The cross has become the symbol of mercy. And anything you believe about
Christianity, just look at the cross at the world, look at the crosses that
people wear. And they may not know the meaning of it, but you can tell them, it
means God is merciful to you. All you need to cry out is God be merciful to me,
a sinner and He will forgive you.
Let's pray. Lord we thank You that You love us,
that You're merciful and we pray that we may express the same mercy. Oh God, we
pray for our troops. We pray for our President. And we pray especially for
children, that they may be spared. Pray O God for a world that will be listening
more to Jesus Christ. Now bless us, walk with us this week O God and bring us
back next Sunday. We can pray together, we can cry together. We can pray for
peace together. Hallelujah. Amen.