When I was first taught to be a good boy and share my toys with others, it was really hard because in my sinful nature I did not want anyone else to play with my toys. My natural disposition was to be selfish. When I was taught to speak kindly to my brother and sisters, I was angry and wanted to hurt them because I was hurt. When I was taught to be generous and to give money to help others, it did not make sense to me. Why did they need my money? They should go get their own money. Thankfully, I grew up in a home that reinforced being kind, speaking well, and giving generously, but these teachings went against the natural fallen disposition of my sinful nature.
Then when I became a young man that accepted Christ as my Savior, I was warned about being countercultural. I was given reasons why being countercultural was wrong. We were to do the right things because culture demanded the right things from us. My family, pastors, and teacher reinforced that I needed to be a good boy. However, as I matured in my faith, the teachings of Christ did not really get any easier. Today, the more I study and mature in Christ, I realize that Christ’s teachings are now very countercultural. They do not make sense anymore when they are compared to culture or the natural fallen disposition of mankind.
Matthew 5:7 reads, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
Now, wait for a second, happy are the people who give mercy because they will receive mercy. This seems very counterintuitive and countercultural. This almost seems like a riddle, and I am not a fan of riddles. I was taught that this verse means that you should be actively compassionate, withhold punishment from people who deserve it. No! No! No! What happened to justice? What happened to holding people accountable? What happened to “you get what you deserve?”
Again, as I studied and matured. I am so glad that I did not get what I deserved many times in my life. God showed mercy in my life and eternal life by not “giving me what I deserved.” I am so thankful for this blessing. The teaching goes on to say that when you are merciful, you shall obtain mercy. God and others have been very merciful to me many times in my life. Now, I am glad to extend mercy to others because there will be another day that I am going to need mercy. I want to be an imitator of Christ, and that means that I must extend mercy and compassion to others. When I stand before Christ, I want Him to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). It makes me think as if He is saying, “Love Me, love others, and do be a good boy!”