Jul. 10, 2019

Mercy And The Creative Law Of Sowing And Reaping

Luke 6:36 - “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

This little statement is nestled amidst Jesus’ teaching of a “radical” idea, that of loving our enemy. Radical at least when compared to the usual thought pattern of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. He also makes it clear that this needs to go beyond some internal sentiment in the direction of doing good, giving, and expecting nothing in return. It can be in terms of mercy, money, or anything else we may grudge to give, especially when we think someone does not deserve it. Not only does He make it clear that the reward is great in heaven for this, but such attitude and behavior reveals who are the sons of the Most High, Who Himself is kind and grateful to evil men.

By not judging or condemning others, neither are we judged or condemned. Verse 38 opens up the principle of this divine mercy and generosity, as it eventually impacts the giver. The “return on investment” in terms of the Kingdom “economy” is remarkable, as it yields much in all aspects of life: “… good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” 

The eye for an eye mentality is reactive. The Law of sowing and reaping is proactive and creative. The latter - in terms of grace and generosity is the Way of Jesus Christ Himself. It features strongly in all He teaches and does, and commands His disciples to go and to do likewise. 

This is where the cross comes in as well, as we pick it up to follow Him. For He asks of us uncompromising generosity in terms of mercy, and that is a tough pill for many to swallow, as well as requiring awareness of its application as we go forth into every day of life, often in the midst of people we do not perceive of as deserving of mercy. This is where the cross gets applied to us as we choose to pick it up and follow Him. Once “nailed,” there is no turning back.

One of the “mountains” which the devil himself has put in the way of walking thus by faith is that of the prosperity preachers, who abuse this creative principle in all the wrong ways and for all the wrong reasons. They see it as a means of themselves being the recipients of the giving of anyone who can be conned into their real intent to rob, at point of the misused sword of the Word! They do not care  whether, by directing the flow of money self-ward, they do damage to many who are already fiscally compromised (often elderly and poor), who because of their false enticements to give to them, plunge themselves into further ruin - so that Reverend SoandSo can travel the world in luxury in his private jet and enjoy life in his 50 room mansion in complete self absorption.

Unfortunately the whole world can see what charlatanry this is, and consequently many do not wish to even consider what Jesus Himself teaches about the Law (or Principle) of sowing and reaping. Yet it is very much the idea with everything He taught, lived, and exemplified. Consider the blessing of the loaves and fishes - how they multiplied as He gave them! And not only that, but He commanded the disciples to participate in this miracle: “YOU give them something to eat.” So because of false teachers (the enemy who comes to rob, kill, and destroy), many are robbed of considering how the Lord wishes to bless us - He Who assures us that He came to give us life and that abundantly!

This is not only fleshed out in terms of money, food, or goods. Jesus brings it all into the context of mercy. We are commanded to extend mercy because the Father has made us new creatures in Jesus Christ. And He gives us His Holy Spirit so that we can participate in this life as new creatures, His sons and daughters who are about our Father’s business. We are in practice extensions of Him Whose kindness extends also to the ungrateful and the evil. This is what makes His love different from that of the world. And He desires to extend it through us.

This is a tough pill to swallow in a generation which has been stirred to fever pitch with division and hatred, to a great extent by the media, along with the poison of religion mixed with politics. Sadly, it’s the impression of this writer that this includes many of the alternative media as well, which claim to be coming from a Christian perspective. Yet when we compare what they promote to the teaching of Jesus, we are forced to conclude that it is more along the lines of an eye for an eye mentality, and it’s all mixed up with politics. 

Instead could we pursue repentance, and move from an eye for an eye, to an “aye for an aye” - affirming in agreement with and in obedience to the One we claim as Lord and King?

To be merciful and generous in all times and in all situations is the mindset and behavior of the King of kings and His royal entourage - the kingdom of priests who reign in and with Him according to His will. 

Yes, this brings suffering. Where He is mocked, we are mocked. At the very least that suffering comes in terms of hatred, resentment, and misunderstanding from those who prefer to live under the Old Covenant mentality of eye for eye and tooth for tooth! They would rather say, “There’s no way in hell I’m going to be merciful toward anyone that I consider unworthy.”

In hell, you say? Surely we can begin to see, as faithful followers of Jesus’ Way, that being unmerciful is indeed already hell, even while here on Earth. The very worst future would be spending eternity with myriads who never learned kindness or mercy, but will forever seek rather to be self serving and vindictive. With all that friction, is it any wonder that hell is so hot? I’m convinced this is what hell “looks like.”

But instead let’s envision the Redeemed in Jesus Christ - all treating one another as He treats us - with infinite mercy, kindness, and forgiveness. It is because this miraculous mercy was and is extended on Earth, that in Heaven we shall find and embrace with gratitude those who were turned from sin and self serving because someone extended to them mercy with its life giving power. So they too began to live in it, receive its transformative benefit, and extend it (and material things as well) to others in need.

I’ve come to despise the meme that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Spiritually speaking it is not so. That is the talk of division. Think about it. In light of what Scripture teaches, there is really only one enemy common to us all, the Serpent of old who likes to keep deceiving us into ill will toward one another. This seems cunning at first, but it is as cold and calculating as hating a cancer patient, and then saying that his disease is your friend! That is insanity. Thus the truth is that the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy!

Therefore the only hope and healing for fallen Humankind - all of us here on Planet Earth! - is to begin to understand, to put into practice, and to teach - uncompromisingly, by the power of the Holy Spirit - ALL that Jesus taught, exemplified, and commanded. Not only by word, but as living sons and daughters of God who resemble our Elder Brother Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven.

Amen.