Our scripture this week is Matthew 5:1-12.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Matthew 5:6-7

Jesus speaks of two attributes that are necessary for the coming of the kingdom of God – righteousness and mercy. Both of these are qualities Jesus exhibits and He teaches that we must seek to make them part of our lives as well. However, in order to do God’s will we must first understand what is being asked of us.

The dictionary defines righteousness as morally correct behavior or ethical action. Jesus is our primary example of this, following God’s law and teaching its importance in our lives. Mercy is showing love to one who may have harmed us previously, or who has no way to help themself. Jesus teaches that when we behave this way, it encourages others to do so as well, and that we can expect God’s righteousness and mercy in return.

Most importantly, Jesus says we must do these things even if others don’t treat us the same way. It’s not a matter of “do unto others as they do unto you” but behaving as Jesus did in every situation, regardless of the response of the world. Jesus teaches it is not worldly approval we must seek, but God’s.

Heavenly Father, we don’t always follow the example which Jesus gave us, falling into envy and competition for worldly things. Help us to see the eternal value of our connection to You and to share that joy with the world. Amen.

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