By Elder Randy Slak
What is mercy? How valuable a trait is it? Is it something we can possess? Does God show mercy? Is He merciful? This is, as we will see, a most invaluable trait we can possess; and is one of God's greatest and most valuable and hopeful traits we can see in Him. Let us start out with seeing what mercy is and some examples of it to help us all be more merciful people.
I have learned first of all, that mercy is the ready inclination of God to relieve the misery of His fallen creatures. We could amplify on that very basic definition, by adding that mercy is also kind and compassionate treatment, showing compassion to the miserable, its object is misery. We will also see that it has the element of forgiveness in it as well. This is a much adorable attribute of our Lord.
We see that His mercy is great (1Kings 3:6), it is plenteous(Psalm 86:5), it is tender(Luke 1:78), it is abundant(1Peter 1:3), it is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him(Psalm 103:17). The mercy of God has its spring in the Divine goodness, as we know He is good and does good (Psalm 119:68). And if there is misery that God attends in us, mercy must presuppose sin.
A merciful person is one who is benevolent and forgiving. And what could best describe God than that! (John 3:16). In Psalm 38:18 it says, "I am full of anxiety because of my sin.” Jesus says in Luke 23:34, "Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing." In a general sense the Lord is merciful to all men. In Matt.5:45 we see "He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good; and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
Also, there is a sovereign mercy, which is reserved for the heirs of salvation. It is pure sovereign grace that alone determines the exercise of Divine mercy. In Romans 9:15, For He says to Moses “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy."
The Father in 2 Cor.1:3 is referred to as the" Father of mercies and God of all comfort. "There is no one more merciful than God. David says in Psalm 23:6 "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life." Being a sheep of the Great Shepherd of the sheep, we can leave behind a great legacy. Will we leave behind peace in our lives or turmoil? Will we leave behind forgiveness or bitterness? Will we leave behind contentment or conflict? An exhortation for this will come from Prov.3:3.
We will finish with two great examples from the scriptures. Luke 10:30-37 is the story of the good Samaritan. One man showed mercy of the three that passed the man overcome by robbers. In verses 34 and 35 we see that he does much for the man. Jesus concludes that this man showed mercy to him and that we should go and do likewise to our neighbor.
And in Matt.18:21-35, where we see the king forgiving a great debt to one of his slaves; and then that slave would not forgive one that owed him a debt. In verses 32 and 33, Jesus says, "You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave in the same way I had mercy upon you?"
To finish, we see in Psalm 57:10 that "Thy mercy is great to the heavens." A.W, Pink says, "For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those that fear Him (Psalm 103:11). None can measure it. The elect are vessels of mercy (Romans 9:23); it was mercy that quickened them when they were dead in their sins (Eph.2:4,5); it is mercy that saves them (Titus 3:5); and it is abundant mercy that begat them unto an eternal inheritance.(1Peter 1:3)
One more example I have to squeeze in. Please look at Luke 6:27-36. We will see directions as to how to be merciful from Jesus in relating to our enemies, and those who hate us, and those who curse us and those who mistreat us. Our reactions and what they should be that Jesus says they should be will bring glory to God and show the world that we are different for a reason and we have treasure elsewhere. Jesus finishes with this in verse 36,"Be merciful just as your Father is merciful."
Our Father is indeed a Father of mercies to all His children, If He has gladly chosen to give us the kingdom, will He not also give us our daily bread and so much more?