Fruit #5 Merciful and Kind
FRUIT #5 – MERCIFUL & KIND
Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is … kindness.
Some questions that come from these verses are:
- What is mercy (and who are the merciful)?
- How and when are the merciful shown mercy?
- What is kindness?
- How do we apply these things?
WHAT IS MERCY (AND WHO ARE THE MERCIFUL)?
God approves of those who are merciful... and because of His approval there is a reward…MERCY! What goes around comes around! You reap what you sow!
When I was a kid, we used to play a game called “mercy”. Two kids would face each other and then interlock their hands together and turn their palms up and then each would try to apply enough upwards pressure so the other couldn’t take the pain and scream “MERCY”! Whoever cried mercy first lost… I’m pretty sure God is not referring to this game when He talks of those who are merciful.
The Department of Public Instruction - Position Statement
On the Nature of Science and the Teaching of Evolution – states this:
“Evolution is a fundamental and important unifying concept in science” – and in the same article is this statement: National Academy of Sciences (NAS): NAS released the second edition of Science and Creationism, A View of the National Academy of Science. It states:
“The theory of evolution has become the central concept of biology and is a critical component of many related scientific disciplines. In contrast, the claims of creation science lack empirical support and cannot be meaningfully tested.” That is one of the most unscientific, biased statements I have ever read…the entire evolutionary theory is unfounded, unscientific and to be honest a fairy tale for those who have a blind faith! Every aspect of the term from cosmic, elemental, stellar, planetary, atmospheric, and biological evolution is untestable, unrepeatable, and unbelievable!
- Cosmic evolution – everything comes from nothing, when in reality “from nothing, comes nothing” …every time. Let’s just assume the impossible happened, even though no one was there, or can verify it now, and it goes against all logic, reason, and real science!
- Elemental evolution – lighter elements came from the explosion of nothing, then created heavier more complex elements through vast explosions (of stars) which nobody saw or can confirm or test or repeat. Explosions do not create order or more complexity, but again, let’s just assume this also magically happened!
- Stellar evolution – elements from the explosion of nothing gathered together to form massive gas clouds which turned into stars which exploded to make heavier elements and more stars and even planets – all ridiculous! Elements in frictionless space don’t gather together, and if they magically did, they wouldn’t form massive gas clouds to make a star because it would repel and expand, not the opposite of that. Let’s also assume this is true and happened because a bunch of people with no proof or real evidence say so and move onto the next phase.
- Planetary evolution – planets in complex orbits, spinning in different directions mind you even around the same star, also came about from stellar explosions which magically came from elements that also mysteriously came from an explosion of nothing! All different sizes and compositions with different properties and orbital patterns. It’s amazing how every explosion in the evolutionary fairy tale leads to complexity and order when every other explosion we observe leads to chaos and destruction. But, for arguments sake, seeing as how we’ve believed so much so far on so little (nothing) let’s assume that from an explosion of nothing, we got the lighter elements, which then produced stars which exploded and made the heavier elements which made more stars that exploded and those made planets and solar systems and galaxies in the universe which is unimaginably humongous! Then we have…
- Atmospheric evolution – all the necessary elements for life to exist: the right extremes in temperature range, the right amounts of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and other elements, the right magnetic field and ozone layer, the right gravitational force, the right sized moon which is luckily the right distance from us to control the oceans, the right sized star (the sun) just the right distance emitting the right amount of heat, the necessity and abundance of water which includes fresh and salt water, the symbiosis of this atmosphere with the plants and trees to provide clean air and food – all that and so much more… exactly what you would expect when nothing decides to explode into frictionless space. If all this could just magically happen from nothing, then the next phase is a given…
- Biological evolution – life coming from non-life (which is impossible and actually violates a scientific law because it cannot be disproven), then finding a perfect mate to create more life through incredibly specific and complex sexual reproduction (which is just as miraculous as life coming from non-life, if not more), all while finding a suitable environment to survive in (some in the water – salt or fresh - and some on land and some in the air), then you need a food source and a digestive system that can break down and use that food efficiently to sustain and repair itself (along with internal filters and a way to get rid of the waste products). All life supposedly having a common simple ancestor which needs to develop more complexity over time when biology shows exactly the opposite with DNA, gene pools and genetic barriers.
Every facet of creation, however, is scientific, logical, orderly, and even testable!
Only something that is eternal, all-powerful, intelligent, and creative could create all this order and complexity from nothing at a specific point in time. All of the following can be verified by God’s existence and His Word:
- The universe exists. Something outside of it had to create it. And everything that we can create ourselves we know comes from an intelligent mind with the intention of purpose and usefulness.
- Time began, meaning the universe is not eternal. Something outside of time had to create time. Meaning that something is not bound by time and can start it, suspend it, and one day stop it if they so choose.
- Complexity and the interconnectedness of all things. Means intelligence, complexity, and creativity in the designer. Just think of this church and all the complexity and interconnectedness in it – the building itself, with plumbing, electrical, heating systems, a well, septic system, parking lot, speakers, piano – all of it designed to be used together for a specific purpose we can all see and easily relate to…now think of that on a universal scale!
- All life is created after its kind and able to reproduce with great variety but always within the limits of its kind. Testable and repeatable. Dog breeding is a perfect example, lots of different dogs, but all breeding leads to a loss of total information on some level and the end result is always a dog.
- All life is given food to eat and an environment to survive and thrive in. just study the circle of life and see how amazing it all is!
- Irreducible complexity demands special creation, not slow methodical evolutionary processes at every stage of life. ¼, ½, or any other stage of a supposedly evolved species is more prone to be killed and never evolve. A mouse trap only functions as what it was intended when all the parts are there and working together. A bird only functions and survives as a bird with hollow bones, feathers and wing structures, beaks, etc., not when they are transitioning with no hollow bones and can’t then fly and are eaten because they can’t escape or starve to death because they can’t properly hunt.
- The fall explains why creation is broken on some level and explains suffering and death and the existence of evil.
- The worldwide flood explains the rock layers and the fossil record and the ice age and mass extinctions, along with climate change then and now.
- The complexity and uniqueness of human language are because of us being made in God’s image and for relationship with Him – one of the greatest mysteries in all of science solved in one chapter of Scripture!
- The only way science is even possible is if God exists, otherwise we are just random chance accidents of chemical reactions and nothing we do, say, or think can be trusted in any way or even matters at all!
Evolution is based on the notion of “the survival of the fittest”, or “only the strong survive”. Mercy does not fit into that picture very well. Mercy is seen as counterintuitive to the survival and prosperity of a species. Many dictators have used evolutionary principles to try and wipe out large numbers of people. The thought process is that they are inferior and less developed on the evolutionary scale and are using up valuable resources that superior races need to thrive and evolve. Such thinking led to the extermination of millions! I don’t suspect any of those military dictators will be receiving much in the way of mercy… Apart from Christ they are appointed to wrath, along with all the rest of unbelievers!
Evolutionary thinking is the foundation for racism, the LGBTQ+ movement (oh, I was born/evolved this way, or this is what I am evolving into), and because of that we now see gender confusion, critical race theory, woke ideologies which embrace victimization (intersectionality), black lives matter, revisionist history, mass categorizations and assumptions, toxic masculinity, oppressive patriarchy, an assault on marriage, the family, unborn children, and any other biblical view of what builds a healthy and prosperous society. Evolutionary teaching and principles are everywhere in our culture and around the world, and even in the church. It promotes selfishness and could not be more diametrically opposed to the Bible and its principles, including the ideas of being merciful and receiving mercy.
For those of you who think I am being too harsh in regard to the evolutionary beliefs and those who hold them, I am not. The Bible calls people like that fools and blind guides who lead others into hell. Tolerance of evil is evil. That which is an offense and an abomination to a holy God is the same to His followers. To not say anything or even assimilate some of those beliefs into the church is hateful. It is destructive, deceptive, and most of all dishonoring to God.
MERCY eleeo, el-eh-eh´-o; (28X); to be compassionate (by word or deed, specially, by divine grace): — have pity on, show mercy to others.
WEBSTER’S 1913 DICTIONARY
Mer′ci·ful 1. Being unwilling to punish.
Exodus 34:6 The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious.
In its simplest understanding mercy just means “not giving someone what they deserve” and it is used in a negative sense – in regard to people who deserve judgment and punishment, not rewards. This might seem like an odd trait to have in a society and even our own human nature seems bent on getting even, getting your pound of flesh, seeking justice and revenge. After all the Bible does say “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”!
To more fully understand why God approves of those who show mercy to others we need only to look at how God shows us mercy. Before we ever show anyone any kind of mercy, God has been merciful to us countless times, and continues to do so throughout our entire lives! God obviously approves of the mercy He shows to us so that would be a good standard to look at.
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant (mercy) and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
Deuteronomy 7:10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face.
Psalms 103:13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
Proverbs 28:13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.
Isaiah 54:10 For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Lamentations 3:22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
Lamentations 3:23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
Titus 3:6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Titus 3:7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
1Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Peter 1:4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
1Peter 1:5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
It’s only because of God’s mercy that He can then show His grace! By not immediately punishing us for each sin He can then show us patience, love, and kindness through salvation, transformation, and eventually glorification.
God’s mercy allows us to see the following attributes He possesses:
- Patience – He is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish but instead come to repentance.
- Love – He first loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses and sins.
- Kindness – He treats us as children of inheritance even though we don’t deserve or earn it.
- Grace – because He doesn’t give us what we do deserve He then chooses to give us blessings that we don’t deserve!
- Gentleness – He doesn’t beat us over the head and angrily make demands, but rather goes about treating us as a gentle savior – wrath, however, is another story!
- Faithfulness – even though we continue to mess up His mercies are made new to us every day, and He never changes His mind.
- Goodness – even though we deserve judgment and death, and He would be just to give us that, we then see all of these other attributes because of His mercy which can be summed up as His “goodness”.
All of the characteristics we know and come to love about God are tied to first and foremost His mercy! Remove that and we are all dead after one sin and there is no redemption, no salvation, no sanctification, and no future glorification! The Bible would end with Genesis chapter 3 as mankind would cease to exist. Adam and Eve sinned so they’re dead…any kids they might have had (the Bible doesn’t record any until after the fall – Genesis 4:1) would not even have lasted one day with a sin nature so they’re dead, and that’s all folks!! No more humans left to make more humans…BUT, thankfully God is merciful.
God’s mercy for believers is a promise. It doesn’t promise a perfect life, free from persecution or trials, but it promises that He will never leave you or forsake you or give you more than you will be able to handle. It endures through all time and is made new every day – it is like how love is described in 1 Cor. 13:
1Corinthians 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Corinthians 13:8 Love never ends (or fails).
That is a good description of what fruit God can produce in your life because of His great mercy that He offers day after day after day…
Sinning is not a good opportunity to receive more mercy and grace or to test God’s mercy and grace. Sinning is simply disobedience, and always causes more harm than good, to your relationship with God first, and then to yourself, and then to others around you. You will sow what you reap so be careful what you are cultivating in your life. Being hard hearted, disobedient, rebellious, and sinful are not characteristics of a born-again believer with a new heart and transformed life. While both will receive a general kind of mercy throughout their time on earth, only one will receive God’s pardoning mercy which will not only have the fruit of eternal life but also affect them in this life as well.
HOW AND WHEN ARE THE MERCIFUL SHOWN MERCY?
So, if we are by God’s power and strength able to be merciful, and that is shown as a fruit of our transformation, then how will God then show us mercy and how is that different than the mercy He shows to all people?
Matthew 5:45b … For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Jeremiah 12:1 Righteous are you, O LORD, when I complain to you; yet I would plead my case before you. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
Both of those verses are examples of God’s common mercy & grace towards all of humanity, saved and unsaved.
Those are questions that countless people have asked ever since the beginning of time and still do today…why do bad people get ahead? How come good people suffer? Why does it always seem like only the good die young? Life’s not fair! – to put those types of questions/comments into proper perspective we need to understand that no one is good! All are bad and deserve death – even you and me! There are only varying degrees of badness when we compare ourselves to others. Whatever you think is good about you gives you pride and an overinflated image of yourself, which is then bad!
There is a passage in Romans where Paul talks about those who receive mercy, whether they earn or deserve it, and describes when it will be displayed:
Romans 9:10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,
Romans 9:11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—
Romans 9:12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”
Romans 9:13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!
Romans 9:15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
Romans 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Romans 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
Romans 9:18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
Romans 9:19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”
Romans 9:20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”
Romans 9:21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?
Romans 9:22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
Romans 9:23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—
Romans 9:24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
Both the wrath and mercy are stored up until the final judgment…
Revelation 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
Revelation 20:14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Even though we all deserve death, and the lake of fire, God’s greatest act of mercy and grace was to pour out His just wrath on His Son for our redemption. In the end we get to be adopted as sons and daughters, have glorified bodies, and live in an eternal state with the creator of the universe!
As if that is not enough, He has also given us right now His Holy Spirit, His Word, spiritual gifts, and other believers (the church). All of those are for our benefit and His glory and are both tied into His mercy and His grace because we don’t deserve any of those things, EVER!!!
WHAT IS KINDNESS?
The fruits of the Spirit are much the same as the beatitudes…they are characteristics that God approves of and in this case displays through us! While everyone can at some time seem to be kind (at least most people anyway) and do so for various reasons, what the Bible is talking about is different. All the fruits are first based on thoughts, or attitude of mind, and then displayed without prejudice with no expectation of gratitude or repayment. Doing the right thing for the right reason with the right attitude expecting no gratitude or repayment!
The world’s system of kindness is based on “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” or “if I get a big enough reward or acknowledgment then I will do this or act that way”. The exact opposite of what Jesus taught:
Matthew 6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness (acts of kindness) before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 6:2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
Matthew 6:3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
Matthew 6:4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5544. chrestotes, khray-stot´-ace; (10X) usefulness, i.e. morally, excellence (in character or demeanor): — gentleness, goodness, kindness.
Colossians 3:11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts (mercy), kindness (grace), humility, meekness, and patience…
God’s grace is synonymous with kindness. God gives us mercy and grace and therefore as His children we are expected to display that mercy and grace (kindness) to others.
Ephesians 2:7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Ephesians 2:9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
God’s mercy is also kindness. His love and patience and goodness to us are also all part of His kindness. Kindness describes how all positive actions of the fruits of the spirit are to be displayed. How is love best displayed? Kindly. How is joy best displayed to others – kindly. Patience with others demands kindness. And so on…kindness displays the inner attitude that propels the outer actions!
Read the gospels and look at how Jesus showed kindness to those around Him, and note that when it was appropriate, He showed righteous anger to those who deserved it. Look at how God shows mercy and kindness to you and me compared to what we actually deserve. As humble as that should make us, it ought to move us to be kind to others, especially if the Holy Spirit lives inside of us and has given us a new heart. Anybody can be kind to someone who is kind to them, that’s just reciprocity. The kindness that is the fruit of the spirit is shown to those also who don’t deserve it, and God gets the credit for that kindness as it is the working of the Holy Spirit through you.
How do we apply these things? What does a godly merciful and kindly person look like that the world notices as different? How are you more merciful and kinder now as a believer than you were before you became a believer? Or are you exactly the same now as you were before?
First, let’s look at how merciful we are…
We are in a culture that has embraced a false worldview and is moving towards almost total separation and denial of God, in at least their deeds or actions.
We are inundated with songs and tv shows and movies that deal with justice and vengeance, and almost a total disregard for mercy. If you are merciful, you will stand out and the world will think you are a wimp or a loser or a doormat.
I know everyone wants to fit in but that’s not what Jesus calls us to do…
- Light stands out in a dark world.
- Salt stands out in a flavorless culture.
- Truth stands out in a society built on lies.
- Mercy stands out where hearts are filled with vengeance and selfishness.
We need to recognize God’s mercy in our lives and look how the list of beatitudes progresses here:
- Poor in spirit – dead in our sins and in desperate need of mercy.
- Mourning – broken over what sin is and realizing the greatness of His mercy.
- Meekness – recognizing how God is merciful to us so we should not be seeking vengeance and wrath towards others.
- Righteousness – doing what is right in God’s eyes is directly tied to His mercy and grace – not just reacting to situations but living out the godly principles and attitudes which is only possible through the Holy Spirit.
- Merciful – if we (meaning the Holy Spirit and I) can recognize and seek the first four of the beatitudes we should then in obedience and humility be merciful.
Sometimes the person we need to be the most merciful towards is looking right back at us in the mirror! The more we learn from Scripture of the depths and severity of sin, the harder we can be on ourselves. I’m not saying inward reflection and confession are bad things because they aren’t, those are both commanded in Scripture and are necessary. There is, however, a point to which we can be too hard on ourselves and have unreasonable expectations of our gifts and abilities. That can lead to bitterness, resentment, anxiety, and depression, none of which are fruits of the spirit by the way!
The mercy you show will never be perfect. It will never be put on a scale to see if you have shown enough to others to see if you now deserve some mercy yourself. God’s mercy is freely given to all believers throughout all time, past, present, and future. If you are a true believer then you will reflect God’s heart and His characteristics, and if you refuse to then what does that make you?
Now let’s see how we are doing on the kindness scale! (5 question survey)
How kind are we to those we love and adore and who treat us well? – this is the easiest time to display kindness.
How kind are we to those we dislike and who treat us poorly? – this is the hardest time to display kindness.
Is our kindness (or lack of) based on how we feel at that moment? – is it just an emotional reaction or is it an intentional action?
Is God anything like us in how He shows His kindness to others? – is it like looking in a mirror when we compare our kindness to God’s or not?
If we are truly God’s children, then whose pattern should we follow? – does obedience mean God’s way is always right or do we think we can do better on our own?
In summary, be merciful and kind to others with the same measure that God is merciful and kind to you. You will never match God but with the Holy Spirit’s help you will at least be on the right path (that’s the narrow one that leads to salvation by the way)! The more you grow and mature as a believer the more meaningful these terms will become to you, and the more you put them into practice the more fruit they will produce (fruit in your own life as well as the impact it has on others). And just know that you will have God’s approval even if other people do not give you theirs!