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Where Is Their Mercy?

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Where Is Their Mercy?
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
16 September 2012
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Proverbs 1:20-33
Matthew 5:7
James 3:13-18

Preparation Verse: Matthew 5:7

7. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
NASB

Last week, as part of our discussion on working for peace, I posed a question:
 
Where is the mercy in people who kill and eat animals, or use them for testing and experiments in laboratories or any other exploitive way?
 
And we came to the conclusion that there is no mercy.
 
As a result, they lose a very important aspect of God’s blessing, if not all of it, for as Jesus says in the Beatitudes (as quoted in our preparation verse), those who are merciful will receive mercy.
 
So, now let’s look at the reverse of this statement, which is also true, as James pointed out to us last week: those who have no mercy shall receive no mercy.
 
With this in mind, let’s take a look at a wisdom passage from Proverbs and see how this discussion on mercy applies in a common sense, practical way.
 
Note what we are told in Proverbs 1:20-33.

20. Wisdom shouts in the street,
She lifts her voice in the square;
 
21. At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
At the entrance of the gates in the city, she utters her sayings:

In the sense of the meaning of this passage, Wisdom refers to God, or the Holy Spirit, but it can and should also refer to the true followers of God’s heavenly will and the teachings of Jesus, who speak forth the loving, compassionate, and peacemaking words of the Lord.
 
Wisdom and truth are being shouted out in every part of this world, but the noisy outbursts of most of the people in our societies try to drown out the truth, because they are trying to justify their cruel and evil ways of living.
 
Their actions also show a lack of Godly wisdom.
 
So wisdom cries out…

22. "How long, O naive ones, will you love simplicity?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing,
And fools hate knowledge?

The naïve ones are those who lack Godly wisdom, and who love to live in a society where mercy for all animals is masked or hidden from the world around them.
 
They don’t want to acknowledge that they really know the truth, and they don’t want anyone to remind them of the truth.
 
They say, “Don’t tell me; I don’t want to know.”
 
They want to live in simplicity.
 
They delight in themselves and the products of cruelty in their lifestyle.
 
They do everything they can to avoid knowledge of the truth, and the peace and loving mercy it could bring; instead they scoff at it.
 
And because of this, the Lord refers to them as fools.
 
Nevertheless the Lord of wisdom, knowledge, and truth continues to call out to them.

23. "Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.

We believe that there are relatively few people in this world who don’t have at least enough knowledge of the truth to know that there is something terribly wrong with the way that most animals are treated.
 
They all know that animals feel pain and want to live and enjoy life, just as much as they do.
 
So, the Lord warns them…

24. "Because I called, and you refused;
I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention;
 
25. And you neglected all my counsel,
And did not want my reproof;

We often feel the same way as God feels, for most of the people reject our teachings on compassionate living, even when we explain all the marvelous blessings we have received by living this way.
 
So God lets them live in their iniquity.

26. I will even laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your dread comes,

Only God has the right to laugh and mock such people, but mostly we feel very sad for them.

27. When your dread comes like a storm,
And your calamity comes on like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come on you.

28. "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me,

29.  Because they hated knowledge,
And did not choose the fear of the LORD.

We have seen this happening all the time, particularly from people who have chronic diseases that have been brought on by eating animals and their by-products.
 
And even in their state of distress, they still reject the truth and wisdom that could save their lives.

30. "They would not accept my counsel,
They spurned all my reproof.

31. "So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way,
And be satiated with their own devices.

In other words, they shall remain sick, and their illness will continue to get worse.

32. "For the waywardness of the naive shall kill them,
And the complacency of fools shall destroy them.
 
33. "But he who listens to me shall live securely,
And shall be at ease from the dread of evil."
NASB

This is the blessing that comes from living compassionately with the whole of God’s creation.
 
And we just applied this passage to the lack of mercy toward all animals.
 
Think of all the other horrible things in the world, and how few people want to accept their own responsibility in the evil around us.
 
Think about these things in terms of what James tells us in 3:13-18.

13. Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.

Have you ever seen the horrible way that animals are treated on factory farms, in slaughterhouses, and in laboratories?
 
There is neither good behavior, nor gentleness of wisdom, and as a result there is very little or no merciful treatment of the animals.
 
Look at all the terrorism and warring madness in the world around us, and all the innocent people who suffer and die because of it, and again we come to the same conclusions.
 
Evil people do these things for their own selfish gain, and our merciful God is left out of the picture, no matter how these evil people may protest otherwise.
 
So James says…

14. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of them do lie against the truth.

15. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.
 
16. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

But for those who strive to follow the Lord, as the loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God that Jesus calls us to be, there are many blessings.

17. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
 
18. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
NASB

This is wisdom; and in this wisdom there is mercy.
 
We know of many formerly evil people in this world who contributed to the corruption of God’s creation, oftentimes with relish; but then came that day when they heard and listened to the voice of wisdom, or the Holy Spirit, and changed into peacemaking children of God.
 
And we were some of them, and if we listened and changed, then so can everyone else, if they want to.
 
To us this is all part of being born again, and receiving the Lord’s salvation.
 
Our hearts were changed, and we could no longer knowingly bring harm to any part of God’s beautiful creation.
 
This is receiving the Lord’s mercy in such an abundance that we just have to share it with every other living being, whether they be human or other animals.
 
Come and join us in this mission of loving kindness and mercy.
 
The world needs us.
 
Amen.