The Gift of Mercy
“…he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness” is the last of the spiritual gifts mentioned by Paul in this text. It has been said that Judgment is when God gives you exactly what you deserve. Mercy is when He doesn’t give you what you deserve, and Grace is when He gives you what you don’t deserve. None of us deserve free salvation, but we get it by Grace [Eph.2:8-9]. Mercy then is not getting what you deserve. So, to be able to extend it to someone you must also be in a position to exact Judgment on them also.
The definition for Mercy is: That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of God.
Once again the best example of Mercy is God. Let’s look at some characteristics of God’s Mercy.
[Rom. 9:13-15] God choses who He will have Mercy on. We also have the free will to extend Mercy to whosoever we wish. Since it is not required and the guilty party knows and expects what he deserves is coming, it is a very precious result. Have you ever been granted some sort of Mercy instead of the full deserved judgment? Did it change or affect your feelings toward the one who gave it ? Of course it did. It is the goodness of God that leadeth men to repentance [Rom.2:4].
[Eph.2:4] God’s Mercy is based on His love for us. The more you love someone the more easily Mercy is extended. Sometimes Love will cause you to extend more mercy than is good for the person. Your children are perfect examples. You want them to love you so much that you have a hard time making them pay for their mistakes. Thank God that he has the perfect balance of mercy and judgment to allow us to grow and become better Christians and to love him more each day.
[Heb. 4:13-16] God’s Mercy is based on experience. The verse says he “was in all points tempted like as we are…” God knows your need for Mercy because He was a man and tempted like as we are. The longer you live, the more you too will understand temptation and the need for it. It is normally a trait of older men of wisdom than younger. [1 Kings 12:1-17]
This gift of Mercy is something that some folk have and some don’t. But if it is a gift then the verse says that it must be done with cheerfulness. You should be happy to grant it to someone. When you understand the blessing that comes with obtaining Mercy, the Love that it inspires, and the wisdom that it shows, it ought to be a joy to extend Mercy to any situation.