Understanding the Beatitudes 5 of 8
Understanding the Beatitudes 5 of 8
“Blessed are the Merciful: for They Shall Obtain Mercy.”
By Rev. Christine 3/1/2020
Today I am continuing with the series on the eight Beatitudes from Jesus the Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew Chapter 5:1-8. This week we are looking at the 5th of 8 Beatitudes: “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
Jesus was speaking first to his disciples who had “ears to hear and eyes to see.” This meaning, to look past the literal message, or surface meaning, to a deeper message for the soul’s spiritual path. In Divine Science we view the Bible metaphysically as a text book for the Soul, as a soul being whole, both male and female, and every character, name, place and even objects in the Bible are aspects of our soul. Much like in a dream where everything is meaningful to the soul – giving a message.
Therefore, the Bible is speaking to us at multiple levels, and we understand it depending upon our level of understanding. And, that way we can swim on the surface or dive deep for the greater message for our spiritual growth in knowing God.
Christ Jesus was speaking to his Disciples about the Kingdom of Heaven or God, and how to reach it through prayer. The Beatitudes or Blessings, are speaking of those who have discovered the Kingdom, and are living life from the Christ consciousness. Jesus spoke of not being of this world, and having food you know not of.
In these statements he was referring to the spiritual “inner” world of consciousness where all comes from, and is then manifested or revealed to be experienced in the outer world. He was in the world but not of it – he was walking this earth in another level of consciousness – he was seeing and experiencing the true world – God’s Kingdom of beauty, eternal life, and love - unconditional love.
Christ Jesus came to teach us, so that we could all experience this great kingdom, heaven right here on earth, right here and now. Rather than the world most people see of separation, misery and death, and waiting till death for either reward or punishment for their life’s deeds.
His method was to change the inner self; our beliefs, thoughts, and then actions. Thus our experience of the outer world would change – even instantly. Once our eyes were opened to the truth, there would no longer be illness but joyous life, death is transcended to eternal life, and misery becomes abundant life - knowing that we are all truly powerful beings of Divine love. And, that is freedom. The truth that sets us all free.
This fifth beatitude “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” is fairly easy to understand compared to the prior ones. The dictionary defines “Mercy” as:
1. A refraining from harming or punishing offenders, enemies, persons in one’s power; kindness in excess of what may be expected or demanded by fairness; forbearance and compassion.
2. A disposition to forgive, pity or to be kind.
3. The power to forgive or be kind; clemency.
4. Kind or compassionate treatment; relief of suffering.
So we are to be kind, compassionate, charitable and forgiving. These are attitudes or state of being in thought, feeling, and in our actions.
It is possible for a person to take what is to be of service, and with our attitude make it worthy or unworthy. If we are thinking unkind thoughts, or resentment while doing a helpful act, then the act is contaminated, degraded from the service it was intended.
For example: A waiter in a restaurant is having a bad day. He rushes by without a word, slaps down our plate of food. Their act of service is no longer serving, and has been degraded because of their attitude. True service would be given with a smile; in caring that we have everything we need, and that we are happy with our meal.
Our attitude sets the tone determining the kind of experiences that come to us – the inside out world. That waiter who slaps the food down, is going to get back unhappy customers and lower tips. Simple as that. Now if an angry customer comes in and the waiter is all happy ready to serve, and approaches with a smile and kindness - that customer will respond back in like manner. Maybe not at first, but persistency in kindness, compassion will soften their mood for the better. That is being in service. They may even leave thankful with a good tip.
Its not always easy to respond back to rudeness with kindness. To put ourselves in their place, especially on busy mornings dodging traffic. Back in the days when I was commuting from South San Jose to North – about 10 miles of traffic lights, in bumper to bumper traffic. Sometimes, someone would cut me off, and I would become all upset.
Then one day, it occurred to me, that sometimes I have been guilty of accidently cutting someone else off. It was like a light turned on, and I decided to put myself in their position by thinking that they must be running late, or afraid of losing their job. So then, I would say “God bless you”, and send them love and light. I arrived to work much more peacefully, and many times even more quickly.
Unconditional love, as understood in this Beatitude, sees only the good and noble and right that is within all. Unconditional love sees the whole person and whole condition. With the eyes of unconditional love, we know that in every seeming harsh and dark experience, there is Truth – there is Light – there is Love.
Mother Teresa wrote about how each person she served, regardless of their circumstance in life, she was serving the Christ. We too can see past the surface to the truth. “I know you, you are the Christ the son of the living God.”
The matching teaching in the Bible is in Matthew 7:12 “Whatever you wish men to do for you, do likewise also for them; for this is the law and the prophets.” Now when we look back at Moses’ law of “an eye for an eye” we can see its higher meaning of “like begets like” or for every action there is an equal reaction - like a paddle board or boomerang.
Throughout the years people have interpreted this law for punishment or revenge, which will only bring more pain and suffering. When we see through the eyes of Oneness, then whatever we do is always being done to our self. We now understand the law of do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
In the Scripture Matt 5:40-42, it reads “If anyone wishes to sue you at the court and take away your shirt, let him have your robe also. Whoever compels you to carry a burden for a mile, go with him two. Whoever asks from you, give him; and whoever wishes to borrow from you, do not refuse him.” Jesus the Christ was asking us to go one step higher in our actions than the law required. He was teaching the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law; its about our attitude.
Jesus goes on to teach in the following parable of The Unmerciful Servant in Matt. 18:23-34. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven is likened to a king who wanted to take an accounting from his servants. And when he began to take the accounting, they brought to him one who owed ten thousand talents. And as he could not pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all that he had, so that he could pay.
The servant then fell down, worshiped him, and said, My lord, have patience with me and I will pay you everything. Then the master of that servant had pity, so he released him and cancelled his debt.
But that servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him a hundred pennies; and he seized him and tried to choke him, saying to him, Give me what you owe me. So his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and begged him, saying Have patience with me and I will pay you.
But he was not willing; and he went and had him put into prison until he should pay him what he owed him. When their fellow servants saw what had happened, they were sorry, and came and informed their master of everything that had happened. Then his master called him and said to him, O wicked servant, I cancelled all your debt because you begged me. Was it not right for you to have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you? So his master was angry, and delivered him to the scourgers until he should pay everything he owed him.”
In today’s world this parable could be about a doctor who had a student loan and fell behind in their payments. The bill collector is after the whole loan which is tens of thousands of dollars. The doctor has no way of paying all this now; he has a mortgage, a wife and new baby, and begs for more time. The bill collector has compassion and decides to write off the loan.
This doctor who’s debt was just forgiven, decides to collect from their patient who owes them a few hundred dollars. When the patient requests for more time to pay back, he turns the debt to a bill collector that takes the patient to small claims court.
The result is the bill collector finds out about the doctor’s actions through his co-worker, changes his mind to write off the student loan, and takes the doctor to court where he loses his business, bank account, and home.
In this story we have the example that the choice is ours in how we respond. We reap the benefits of our actions. We will learn one way or another. Maybe next time the doctor will choose differently. Before choosing we can ask our self “What will bring me greater peace? Or, what will bring me the kingdom of heaven?”
This reminds me of the movie “Pay it Forward.” When someone does a kind act for you, then for you to do a kind act for someone else. Or, in random acts of kindness. To just do kindness for the joy of it. And, for the receiving person it is even so much more special because its like a miracle.
We are here on this journey of life, to learn our oneness with each other. To serve others as though we are serving God. That is to treat each other with respect, kindness and compassion.
The next level of this Beatitude, is in prayer. We are reminded in the Lord’s prayer to forgive, and Jesus tells us that we must forgive before bringing our offerings to the Holy Temple. Our Holy Temple is our inner consciousness, where we abide in stillness and quietness for that still small voice – and commune in the consciousness of oneness in God.
In Matt. 18:21-22, “Then Peter came up and said to him, My Lord, if my brother is at fault with me, how many times should I forgive him? Up to seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” It was Jewish law at that time to forgive a person 3 times. So the disciple offering to forgive 7 times was really a stretch.
Jesus is teaching goes further, that it is more than the words “I forgive you.” It is about releasing through our whole consciousness; mind, body and soul. The number 7 means spiritually complete, and here ten fold. Also when multiplied is 490 times. When seen as sacred numbers of numerology we add the 4 & 9 to make 13, and reduced to a 4. The 4 is a new foundation, and 13 is the Christ consciousness.
Meaning to forgive until there is nothing but love between the two of you. And, when you think of the situation, there are no more negative feelings or emotional triggers. Any suppressed anger will fester, and when least expected will have uncontrolled mis-directed emotional outbursts.
As we prepare for prayer, we let go of all negative thoughts, first with others, and then those we direct to our self. We give love, kindness, and compassion in place of judgement until we find that place of peace – the peace that passes all understanding. And, what do we get back, more love, kindness and compassion, and peace of mind. And, great gifts of inspiration, wisdom, healing and abundance of all good things.
I shall now rewrite this Beatitude as, “Joyful am I, who is compassionate in all that I think, say, and do; for I always receive back as the measure I give.”