총 게시물 404건, 최근 2 건

'Blessings to those who are merciful'

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2017-09-12 (화) 07:24 조회 : 31
Rev._Jang\'s_Sermon_on_September_10,__2017.docx (22.0K), Down : 0, 2017-09-19 23:53:45
설교일 : 2017.09.10.
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : Matthew 5:7

September 10, 2017

 

‘Blessings to those who are merciful’

Matthew 5:7

 

Rev. Chan Young Jang’s Sermon at the KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

 

1.

While preparing for today’s sermon, I have again looked into Mary Gordon’s book, ‘Roots of Empathy’. As you know, ‘empathy’ is understanding another’s feelings, situations and identifying with them. Mary Gordon, who was a kindergarten teacher in Toronto, Canada, believed that finding the ‘roots of empathy’ was more important for children than learning the language and numbers, and taught the children the ‘Ability of Empathy’ so that they would understand their own feelings and expressions and also ‘the perspective of others in the world’.

 

Watching the children go through the elementary/middle school, she realized the importance of the ability of empathy for their development and started the ‘Roots of Empathy’ program to raise the emotional competence and increase their empathy. As the children’s ‘Ability of Empathy’ grew, their ‘learning ability’ also improved and their ‘Ability of Empathy’ influenced their lives positively even after they became adults and got married. So, the subtitle of her book is ‘Changing the World, Child by Child’.

 

Recently, while the whole country was upset at the launching of nuclear weapons by North Korea, a lot of people in Korea were also very disturbed by a violent crime committed against a middle school girl in Busan. The students in the same school as the victim detained and beat her viciously for many hours until she was covered with blood all over her body. Even then, they forced her to kneel to them, and the whole incident was recorded on CCTV, and subsequently shown on social media. It was such a horrific crime that there is a movement to abolish the ‘Juvenile Act’ which is very lenient toward the juveniles and protects them from harsh sentences. A few weeks ago, some other teenage girls kidnapped an elementary school child and killed the child in the end. A few months ago, it was reported that some elementary school children had continuously extorted money from a classmate by beating him regularly.

 

We are aware these kinds of cruelty have existed in society before, but the shocking new development is the reaction of the assailants of the victim.  When asked why they did it, one of them said, “It was fun.” When asked, “How would you feel if you were beaten up so cruelly?” the answer was, “Why should I think like that? I never thought about it!” The more shocking thing is that when the parents of the assailants were informed of the violence, one parent responded, “She must have deserved the punishment.” When asked, “How would the victim’s family feel about this?” the parents answered, “Why make it a big deal? We can take care of this incident through lawyers.”

 

We are saddened by the lack of empathy in today’s society among the children and their parents. We can clamor for changing the educational system and the lenient juvenile law, but we cannot deny that our own empathy is lacking in some degree in today’s world.

 

Mary Gordon whom I mentioned earlier described an experiment in her book; many infants were gathered in a room, and when one infant began to cry, soon the others began to cry also. But, the surprising thing was that some of them stopped crying and then went over to the others who were still crying and began to caress their faces. She called this action ‘the first empathy of one’s life’ and emphasized that there is hope for the humankind. I am very touched by this ‘roots of empathy’ found among the infants and believe it is the heart of God manifested in them.

 

 

2.

Today, we are meditating upon the fifth message of the Beatitudes, which is for those who are merciful. We recognize the empathy of Lord Jesus in this message.

 

First of all, the word Lord Jesus used for ‘mercy’ in today’s message is ‘Elleos’ meaning mercy and compassion, and this word is derived from the Hebrew word ‘Lehem’ meaning a mother’s womb. Consequently, ‘mercy’ means not only the compassion, but also a mother’s natural sympathy for her child, which is like ‘God’s loving behavior toward us’, and a good example of God’s love was shown to Ruth, a foreigner, in the Book of Ruth.   

 

The ‘mercy’ in today’s passage is different from the compassion we have in our hearts. As Apostle John confessed, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Likewise, because God had mercy for us, now we can have mercy for others.

 

Let us think seriously. We, the humans, cannot be merciful without adding conditions and limits. But after realizing that God has been merciful toward us who do not deserve it, we can be merciful toward others beyond any conditions or limits. The Bible tells us how much love and compassion our Lord has for us.

 

Philippian 2:6-8  “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”

 

What He did on earth was to sympathize with our weaknesses.

 

Hebrews 4:15  “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.”

 

Not only He suffered, but He also sympathized with those who were weak and suffering. He didn’t just say He loved us, but came down to earth and died on the cross for us, and that is ‘the mercy of God toward us’.

 

Let me ask you a question: Have you received the mercy of God? If you haven’t, you would not be here at this worship. Therefore, we cry to God at every worship, “Lord, have mercy on me!” (Kyrie eleison), and this has been going on throughout the history of Christianity since the early churches.

 

There is this advice in the Hebrews.

 

Hebrews 4:16  “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

 

My beloved congregation, we all need to receive mercy. We are here at the worship right now, so that we may receive the mercy of God. Children need to receive mercy from their parents, and spouses need to receive mercy from each other. Congregation need the mercy from their pastor, and the pastor needs to receive their mercy in order to lead them as their shepherd. After admitting that we have received God’s mercy, we are willing to receive mercy from others and to give mercy to others.

 

When I look back on my life, I couldn’t have gone on with my life without the mercy of God. “Lord, have mercy on me” was the desperate cry of the blind man Bartimaeus to Lord Jesus, and it was my cry also. I was as poor and as blind as Bartimaeus, and my Lord never ignored my cries to Him. His replies were easily visible, sometimes not, and sometimes He replied quickly, sometimes slow, but His mercy has been bestowed upon me at His discretion. At times, when walking through the valley of the shadow of death, I didn’t even know what to ask, but just cried to Him, ‘Kyrie eleison’ (Lord, have mercy on me!).

 

I don’t think your prayers are very different from mine. As we are sinners and eager critics of others while insisting on our own righteousness, you and I do not have any right to ask for mercy from the Lord, but He overlooks our unworthiness and bestows mercy upon us.

 

With His message about mercy, Lord Jesus is asking the Jews to recover the mercy of God which they have lost. “O Israel, you have lost your mercy. You are merciful only to show off your own righteousness and that is a false mercy,” Jesus says.

 

 

3.

Now, with the help of the Holy Spirit, let us take a look at those who are merciful. Lord Jesus gave us a parable about a merciful person, the Good Samaritan.

 

In chapter 10, Luke, a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and he fell into the hands of robbers. He was beaten and stripped of his possessions and were left half dead. A priest passed by, and then a Levite passed by, both without doing anything. Who are this priest and the Levite? They are us, who have already experienced the mercy of God, but they passed by this man and didn’t show mercy. Then, a Samaritan came by and saw this man. Who is this Samaritan? He is a stranger, outside of church. But he took pity on the man and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine, and then put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he gave money to the innkeeper to look after him while he was gone and promised to reimburse him for any extra expense on his way back.

 

After telling this parable, Jesus asked the following question.

 

Luke 10:36  “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

 

Then, the expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy (Elleos) on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

 

This parable makes us uncomfortable and defensive. Do we have to do all that to show mercy? Perhaps the priest and the Levite had something urgent to do. It is not easy for us to spend so much of our time, energy and resources for a stranger on the road, we begin to rationalize.

 

Even if we cannot do what this Samarian did for the man, we have to agree to what Lord Jesus urged us to do, that is to have the heart of the Lord and care for the other people in our lives.

 

Lord Jesus told this message to expose the lack of neighborliness in the people at the time and to give a severe warning not to live their lives ‘with Gospel only, without the deeds’, like the priest and the Levite in the parable. Showing the example of a despised Samaritan as the good neighbor, Lord Jesus was declaring that God will never relinquish His compassion on anyone.

 

But in reality, practicing the mercy of God in our lives is not easy. One or two times we can help our neighbors gladly, but it is almost impossible for us to have empathy for them and share our own resources with them every time they need help.

 

Then, why does Lord Jesus say that ‘Blessed are those who are merciful’? He knows that we cannot be merciful always and that we feel stressed about doing good deeds.

 

He wants us to know that; 1) to be merciful is never possible for us by only our own will in our natural character, and 2) by being merciful, we will be guaranteed of His continuing compassion.

 

 

4.

Prof. Henri Nouwen’s last book, ‘The Spirituality of Caring’, was published recently and this book was about his relationship with a child named ‘Adam’ during his time at ‘Daybreak’, a community of mentally handicapped children in Canada, after he had resigned from the professorship at Harvard Divinity School. It has four chapters; 1) Mercy is the way for us to follow Lord Jesus, 2) Mercy is the way to a true relationship, 3) Mercy is the cure for despair, 4) Mercy restores you and completes you.

 

For him, ‘Caring’ and ‘Mercy’ had the same meaning, and by caring for Adam, who had profound developmental disabilities, he experienced God’s love personally and shared the benefits of caring for others in his book, as follows.

 

“Caring is the most human gesture we can give. Caring comes from our brave admission that we all need each other and also need the grace of mercy in our lives. Mercy is the glue that binds us as brothers and sisters, as all of us travel the journey of life which is full of wonders and sufferings.”

 

“When we are successful with many compliments and friends, we are happy, confident and comfortable. On the other hand, when we are unsuccessful, being criticized and neglected, we are sad, skeptical of our ability and lonesome. (This is the time for reflection and you quickly realize that you are the one who needs compassion at any moment.)”

 

“As long as we define health as having strong heart and lungs, good memory, astute insight and sharp understanding, our perspective on life will be extremely narrow. (In reality, there are more of us who don’t have all of the above. We are destined to meet with adversities in life and caring for each other in those times is the prearranged grace of God.)”

 

“The spirituality of caring helps us to prepare for the eternal life. Even when we cannot solve the problems, we can acknowledge and accept the sufferings. We have to embrace our incompetence and weakness. The ones we are taking care of are our own reflections and show us the other ‘me’… Whenever things don’t work out and I get frustrated, I think of Adam and then he seems to admonish me to calm down. I don’t know how this happened, but our positions have been reversed. Now Adam is my teacher, and he is leading me by the hand. I am passing through the chaotic wilderness of my life, accompanied by Adam.”

 

My beloved congregation, being merciful is a blessing from God, and a merciful person will receive the mercy of the Lord and of others who have received mercy from the Lord. Living in this age of violence, we need to be assured of this fifth message of the Beatitudes; ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” This place will be as beautiful as heaven, when we feel empathy for each other and take care of others in our lives. Then, all of us will be shown the mercy of God at every moment.

 

Let us sing the closing hymn; ‘Look into my heart, O Lord, there is no mercy within me!’








   

총 게시물 404건, 최근 2 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
404 2017.09.17.  'Blessed are the pure in heart' Matthew 5:8 Rev. Jang
403 2017.09.17.  행복하여라: 마음이 청결한 자여 마태복음 5:8 장찬영 목사
402 2017.09.10.  'Blessings to those who are merciful' Matthew 5:7 Rev. Jang
401 2017.09.10.  행복하여라: 긍휼이 여기는 자여 마태복음 5:7 장찬영 목사
400 2017.09.03.  'Blessings to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness' Matthew 5:6 Rev. Jang
399 2017.09.03.  행복하여라: 의에 주리고 목 마른자여 마태복음 5:6 장찬영 목사
398 2017.08.27.  'Blessings to those who are meek' Matthew 5:5 Rev. Jang
397 2017.08.27.  행복하여라: 온유한 자여 마태복음 5:5 장찬영 목사
396 2017.08.20.  'Blessings to those who mourn' Matthew 5:1-12 Rev. Jang
395 2017.08.13.  행복하여라: 애통하는 자여 마태복음 5:3~4 장찬영 목사
394 2017.08.06.  'Blessings to all who are poor in spirit' Matthew 5:1-12 Rev. Jang
393 2017.08.06.  행복하여라: 심령이 가난 한 자여 마태복음 5:1~12 장찬영 목사
392 2017.07.30.  'What causes my happiness?' Matthew 5:1-12 Rev. Jang
391 2017.07.30.  나는 왜, 무엇 때문에 행복한가? 마태복음 5:1~12 장찬영 목사
390 2017.07.23.  'Despair Brings Hope' Psalm 42:1-11 Rev. Jang
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : 'Blessed are the pure in heart'
설교일 : 2017.09.17.
본문말씀 : Matthew 5:8
설교자 : Rev. Jang

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