Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging, and you will never be judged. Stop condemning, and you will never be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A large quantity, pressed together, shaken down, and running over will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use, you will be measured.Luke 6:36-38
Notice how verse 36 picks up the verse before it. The last segment of verse 35 is rephrased as a summary in verse 36. “Love your enemies! Do good to them . . . for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked” flows into “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.” It all flows together. Be merciful to your enemies; love them because that is what God has done for us when we were His enemies; or at enmity with respect to God the Father. We were His enemies and look how He treated us. He loved us and poured His mercy on us. How could we do any different for our enemies?
A very interesting word is used for merciful, it’s [oiktirmon]. The meaning of it is revealing. It’s close in meaning to [eleos] which is the usual word for mercy but there is an added component, that stresses the sense of pity or sympathy for those who are unfortunate and lacking or needy. That doesn’t sound like enemies does it? Have mercy and compassion on them because while they think they know the truth and are persecuting you in fact they are to be pitied. They don’t know the truth but you do; their eyes are blinded but you have the light of God’s word and the conviction of His Holy Spirit by which to see. Be merciful and have pity on them even though they lash out at you in the frustration of their spiritual blindness. God doesn’t just have mercy on us once, He keeps showing us mercy. God is innately merciful. As His kids we ought to be merciful in all our ways. We who have been shown mercy ought to show that same mercy to others. But we have to use today’s mercy. Yesterday’s mercy is already stale. His MERCY is new every morning and His faithfulness is great.
Then Jesus follows up with two negative prohibitions and then two positive principles.
- Stop judging and you wont be judged.
- Stop condemning and you won’t be condemned.
- Forgive and you will be forgiven
- Give and you will be given.
These elements are set against one another on two sides of the fence because they are polarized opposites. When you judge and condemn you can’t forgive and show merciful. It is either one or the other. You can’t do both.
Jesus is not forbidding us making sound judgements but He is forbidding us from condemning. To condemn is to set ourselves up as God. Only God is the Judge not us because only God can judge justly with all the facts. We humans don’t know the full story. When we are recipients of God’s mercy then we are in the position of extending mercy to those with whom we deal. Be merciful. To forgive is the opposite of condemn. Choose which side of the fence you will position yourself. This is one situation where you can’t sit on the fence.
The sense of give is normally in terms of material things but in this case it appears to be in terms of extending grace, mercy and forgiveness. Do you want large quantities of God’s mercy and grace? If so then give it out in large quantities too. The standard or measure you use with others will be used for you. Be merciful in everything you do, in so doing you will be kind to yourself.
Hate & condemnation are natural. Acceptance & forgiveness are supernatural.Alvi Radjagukguk
Condemning others as bad or sinful is a way to feel righteous and can become highly addictive.John Bradshaw
Is your default mode WITH PEOPLE law & judgment or grace & mercy? “Forgive others as the Lord forgave you.”Rick Warren
Goodness gives me what I don’t deserve and mercy spares me from what I do deserve!Rick Godwin
Nothing fosters fear like an ignorance of mercy. And nothing fosters courage like a clear grasp of grace.Max Lucado