Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Blessed are the Merciful

Blessed are the Merciful-a devo inspired by an Oasis Message on the Beatitudes
Matthew 5:7 and James 2

Karla Faye Tucker was a beautiful woman. If you had seen a picture of her just randomly, you would have assumed she was just a normal, happy and healthy woman. Karla was an axe murder but before her death, she was vibrant and joyfilled woman. Just over 10 years ago, Karla was the first woman to be executed since the 1860s. I was first introduced to her story at a camp that I worked at this past summer. A message was done on “Forgiveness” by one of our leaders and it really intrigued me. To think that this woman brutally murdered two people in one of the most horrifying deaths besides the cross could receive forgiveness simply blows my mind away. How could someone like Karla experience forgiveness? Yes, we always say “Well sins are not ranked and so a murder is the same as lying or committing adultery.” Which, by all means is true, but to think of the ramifications of committing a murder, not even a quick one but a painful, horrifying and grotesque murder with an axe. But even Karla Faye Tucker has experienced forgiveness and she is now in the place where, if you’ve committed your life to Christ, we desire to go after our own lives. She is in the presence of the living God; our Perfect, Holy and Righteous God, blameless in His sight. What about the pain here on earth though? What about the holes in the hearts of victim's family? One of the victim's names is Deborah and I would like to invite you to go to a link with a short video on where Deborah’s family stands, specifically her brother’s and how it truly depicts the scripture in Matthew 5:7 about Mercy.


Crazy is it not? Praise God for prison ministries. Karla came to know the Lord through a puppet show conducted at the Harris County Jail. The last moments of her life consisted of proclaiming the Truth and setting an example for all believers to live in freedom that comes through the mercy and grace from our Lord Jesus Christ.
It says in Matthew 5:7

“Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.”

The word “mercy” is thrown around a lot. I remember as a little child watching the television show, “Full House” and Uncle Jesse would always say “Have Mercy” when he received a kiss from Rebecca Donaldson. But I think mercy is a little deeper than that. What is mercy? It is often thought of as the same thing as grace, however in the message given by Pastor Rick last week, he used a statement to define the two words:
“Mercy is not receiving something you do deserve while grace is receiving something you don’t deserve.” So in the example of Karla Faye Tucker, she deserved to die. I won’t go into the whole debate of death row but focus more on the fact that we all deserve to die. We deserve hell for the sin in our lives. But, we can receive mercy through accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, like Karla. We don’t deserve heaven because of the sin in our lives however, because of God’s grace through His Son, we get to experience eternity with Him, like Karla. Secondly, we need to recognize mercy is not a feeling; mercy is a choice. We can choose to be merciful and to receive mercy just like what Matthew 5:7 says. James 2:13 says this:
“For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

To set the tone of this passage, James, the half brother of Jesus, is addressing the body of believers that were in dispersion or the “assembly” (2:2). In chapter two, he is writing in regards to showing partiality to each other with the example of favoritism towards the rich. He somewhat scolds the body and questions them on this act of judgment. He speaks of how breaking one part of the law is the same as breaking the entire law. The closing statement of the passage however is verse 13, a verse of hope in the fact that mercy triumphs over judgment. Wow! Is that not so great! Do you realize the power you have been given by the blood of Jesus Christ? Can you fully comprehend the fact that you have the power to either judge which leads to death or the power to grant mercy, like our Great God and to receive life? If you choose to judge, you will be judged but if you choose to extend mercy, you will receive mercy. Simple concept but oh, so hard to follow through with is it not? Stop and think of a moment where you received mercy, even if it was just for something “small.” Do you recall the depth of mercy you received in that moment? Think of the depth of mercy that Karla felt when she realized that she was forgiven in God’s sight. Think of the weight that was lifted off of her shoulders knowing, yes, she would leave this world and die physically, but that she would live eternally with a God who was madly in love with her! That God is madly in love with you because he created this concept of mercy so that you too could experience an eternal life with Him. The brother of Deborah also understood this concept and he too obeyed these two passages. He was set free the anger and bitterness that came with the loss of his sister. God truly worked in this story and although it has a depressing overtone, our good God was able to show redemption at it’s finest and hopefully, you too will be impacted enough to choose mercy over judgment in your own life!

If you have a few extra moments, you should really check out these two other links—especially the interview on You Tube to hear and see first hand the transformation of Karla’s life!

An interview with Karla Faye Tucker and Larry King

The 700 Club Interview with Karla Faye Tucker

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