# Blessing China 5 : The Be Happy Attitudes: Eight Principles for Successful Living (14/09/08)

The Message

By: Dr. Robert H Schuller

Special Guest

Rev. Sam Lai

Special Music

"Joyful, Joyful..."
"Christ be Beside Me"
"O For a Faith that Will Not Shrink"

"Eternal Life"
"The Holy City"
NANCY ANDEEL - "The Greatest Story"
Don Neuen, Cathedral Choir, and thank you Johnnie Carl, the Hour of Power orchestra and Mr. Pardini, our great organist.

The Message

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 Iraq.


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 obtain mercy."


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."


A promise


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 mercy."


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 receive mercy."

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 Lord forever."


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 mercifully.


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 killed.


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 few suggestions.


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 enough.


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 real success.


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.

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