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” ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well;    James 2:8

When we understand what true charity (love) is, we find the path to extreme joy.

Charity is not giving a hand out but a hand up.  Charity enables a person to help themselves.  Too much of what is called charity today only degrades those receiving the hand out and keeps them in the cycle of needing more handouts.

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.  Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”—Author unknown

The Hebrew word for mercy is “Checed” which means to get inside someone’s skin, to look at where they view life and feel what they are experiencing; to move in and act on behalf of the one who’s hurting. That is exactly what Jesus did when He chose to leave the comfort and glory of Heaven to become one of us. Mercy has also been defined as compassionate treatment, having the disposition to be kind and forgiving.

The dispensing of mercy on your part identifies you not only with the hurting but with God the Father. You are never more like your Heavenly Father than when you are giving out mercy. Jesus desires acts of “mercy and not sacrifice.’ (Matthew 9:13 NIV) If you truly love God you prove it through the mercy you give.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.   Ephesians 2:10  We are created to do good to one another, to serve one another, to love one another.  We are even charged to “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,”  Hebrews 10:24

Just as Jesus was love incarnate, He was mercy incarnate. He wept with the sorrowing and gave companionship to the lonely. He took little children into His arms and blessed them. He forgave those who beat Him and rallied against Him. The ultimate outcome of His mercy was the cross.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matt 5:7 NIV) He was teaching that mercy to men brings mercy from God – not mercy from men. Our corrupt, ego-centered, and selfish society often asks only one question; “What’s in it for me?” Jesus wants us to ask “Lord, what is in it for you? How can I meet their needs right where they are? What acts of compassion can I do?” Mercy is meeting people’s needs wherever their needs are – in what ever situation they find themselves. It’s not simply feeling compassion but showing compassion, not only sympathizing but offering a helping hand as well. The true character of mercy is in giving – giving compassion, giving help, giving time, giving money, giving of yourself and giving forgiveness. If you desire to “brightly reflect the glory of the Lord” and become “more and more like him and reflect his glory even more” you must “never give up” in showing His mercy.                (2 Cor 3:17-4:2 NLT)

InVision Chaplains