Offering mercy and forgiveness is part of what it means to put the Golden Rule of Wisdom into practice: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). It is wise for everything about a civilization to be framed so as to offer mercy and forgiveness. Because everything about a good civilization has a role to play in offering mercy and forgiveness. Families. Charities. Businesses. Governments.
At the end of his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained why everyone should put his words into practice. He said:
“[E]veryone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise [person] who built [their] house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25).
Near the beginning of his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7). He returned to this teaching later in the Sermon on the Mount, when he said: “[I]f you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:15).
The importance of offering mercy and forgiving to each other surfaces several other places in the Sermon on the Mount.
If someone has something against us, we should immediately go talk with them about it. We should settle any argument and be reconciled with them. (Matthew 5:21-26).
If someone does something wrong, respond by offering mercy and forgiveness. Do not fight violence with more violence. Give more than people ask. Help more than people ask. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:38-44).
Do not be a hypocrite. The faults you find in others are the faults they’ll find in you. Do not try to remove a speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye, unless you first remove the plank in your own eye. (Matthew 7:1-5).
These ways to offer mercy and forgiveness are part of what it means to put the Golden Rule of Wisdom into practice: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). And “in everything” means in everything!!!
In order to build a civilization that is good, everything in that civilization must offer mercy and forgiveness.
The essential task of offering mercy and forgiveness does not depend solely on individuals.
It is wise for everything about the civilization to be framed so as to offer mercy and forgiveness. Because everything about a good civilization has a role to play in offering mercy and forgiveness.
Families. Charities. Businesses. Governments.
Such a civilization will be built on a foundation of Wisdom—everyone will do everything in a way that offers mercy and forgiveness.
Such a civilization will put into practice the words of Jesus—his words in his Sermon on the Mount and his words on the Cross, when he said about those who were insulting him, torturing him, and killing him: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
When the rain comes down, when the streams rise, and when the winds blow and beat against that wise civilization, it will not fall.
Wisdom will offer mercy and forgiveness.
Mercy and forgiveness will secure a civilization that is good—that is very good.
For additional thoughts about putting the Sermon on the Mount into practice, please read my blogs “Building Houses on Rock: Mission Impossible?”, “Building Houses on Sand: Specks and Planks”, and “Building Houses on Rock: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”.
For additional thoughts about the importance of mercy to heal the Promised Land, please read my book Healing the Promised Land, at pages 45-55 and 74-80,89-93.