Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
People have been heard saying, "Have mercy, Lord" or "Have mercy on me." What is mercy? How does one obtain mercy? How can a person be merciful? And why did Jesus say, "Blessed are the merciful?"
Mercy and Merciful: Definitions
Mercy is more than merely feeling sorry for someone who is suffering. Mercy is what God shows to us when we are in need of mercy. Therefore, mercy is what we should show to others when they need help. Mercy is an act of kindness given to those who are suffering and need to be helped in some way. Mercy is doing your part to meet someone's needs, no matter how small or large,
Having mercy is shown to someone who doesn't deserve it.
Showing mercy is also withholding punishment from someone who deserves it.
Below are five major reasons to show mercy.
- God commanded mercy.
- God is merciful.
- Show mercy to obtain mercy.
- Mercy is contagious.
- Mercy is a requirement of God.
1. God Commanded Mercy
We should be merciful because both God and Jesus commanded mercy to be shown. Since they are the embodiment of mercy, we should show mercy because they not only commanded it, but they are our examples of having shown mercy.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught the Beatitudes That fifth Beatitude says:
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."
When Jesus walked the face of the earth and surrounded Himself with sinners, He showed mercy to everyone He came in contact with, and we should do the same.
2. God Is Merciful
Luke 6:36 repeats Jesus' fifth Beatitude.
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Because God is merciful toward us, then we should be merciful toward others.
The Bible says that God is merciful. It is emphasized throughout the Bible. There are hundreds of scriptures about the abundance of God's mercy.
Ephesians 2:4-5 says:
“God’s mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ. It is by God’s grace you have been saved.”
3. Show Mercy to Obtain Mercy
James 2:13 says:
“You must show mercy to others, or God won’t show mercy to you . . . But the person who shows mercy can stand without fear at the judgment.”
We might not need mercy at the moment, but we will certainly need it in the future.
In order to receive mercy, we must show mercy because we cannot receive what we are not willing to give.
If we show mercy while here on earth, according to the above scripture, we can stand in front of God on judgment day without any fear. Therefore, we should bank up mercy while we have the chance.
"Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy." (Matthew 5:7)
4. Showing Mercy Is Contagious
Showing mercy is not contagious like a dreadful disease or having the urge to yawn when you see others yawn. However, showing mercy is contagious in that when everyone around you is doing it, you will have the tendency to show mercy also.
Perhaps you are the one to start the cycle. If you are reading this, then this is your confirmation that you need to show mercy. You might say you show mercy to family members, friends, and perhaps co-workers. When God commanded people to show mercy, He did not stipulate only those few people. He commanded all people to help and care for all people who are hurting and not just those in their inner circle.
5. Showing Mercy Is a Requirement to Please God
Some people might believe they are pleasing God by being a worker in the church. They might be confident they are pleasing God when they go to every prayer breakfast, workshop, and religious conference. There is nothing wrong with doing those things, but what pleases God takes more than that. Showing mercy trumps those things.
God gave the prophet Micah three requirements.
“The LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
Those requirements are the same for us.
- to do what is right
- to love mercy
- and to walk humbly with your God
God did not limit those He wants us to show mercy to. He did not say show mercy only to only those in authority or those who can do something for us in return. Make sure to include the following people on your "Show Mercy List."
- the downtrodden and outcasts
- those who have offended you
- those who don't show you mercy