Hey there! Welcome to week 3 of my Micah 6:8 study! On the menu this week: loving mercy.
What comes to mind when you think of mercy? Movie buffs like me might 1-picture a frightened, sad someone on their knees, hands clasped together, desperately begging “please sir, show mercy”, or 2- a sassy southern woman annoyed, saying “oh Lord have mercy” to a not the sharpest tool in the shed counterpart, or maybe you think of 3-the kid’s game mercy where you twist your opponents wrist until they shout mercy or uncle. None of these sound particularly pleasant. The first depicts being tortured and shown brief relief, the second is insinuating stupidity or wanting to throw in the towel on someone, and the third is the infliction of pain until giving up. The Bible has a little different definition of mercy. One that’s, believe it or not, loving and kind of awesome.
For starters, what exactly is mercy??
Mercy (according to our ole pal Mr. Merriam-Webster): a compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power, lenient or compassionate treatments; blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion; compassionate treatment of those in distress
See a theme?? COMPASSION. Alrighty, question number 2-what is compassion?
Compassion (courtesy of Mr. Webster): sympathetic consciousness of other’s distress together with a desire to alleviate it
So basically, mercy is alleviating distress to someone even when it may not be deserved per say. Wowza.
A question that popped into my head was what is the difference between mercy and grace? Shout out to Acts 17:11 Bible Studies for very easily clearing this up for me (here’s the link to the site I found from Googling if ya wanna check it out http://www.acts17-11.com/mercy.html). Mercy is not getting what you deserve or withheld punishment, while grace is getting what you don’t deserve or unmerited favor. What do we deserve? We are sinners to the bone-born that way, Bible says so. We deserve punishment for our prideful, selfish, dishonest ways, but what do we get instead? God’s mercy and grace. And can I get a amen!?
Mercy is first illustrated in the Bible in Genesis 19 verses 16-19. At this point on the Bible timeline, Sodom and Gomorrah are being destroyed and God is sparing Lot and his family from His judgment which is currently falling upon the two notoriously wicked cities. In this we see the original definition of mercy-the act of sparing or forbearance of a violent act expected. God portrays the epitome of what it means to show mercy. Over and over again in the Bible, it is repeated how he will show mercy and how we should as well. Get ready, bout to hit ya with some scripture references #sorrynotsorry!
Psalm 145:8-9 (NLT) states, “The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.” Luke 6:36 says we must be compassionate just as our Father is. Ephesians 2:4 describes just how powerful God’s mercy is and that despite the shenanigans we get into and despite us being dead to our sin, he is so rich in mercy that we are saved! Titus 3:5 again states how we are saved because of His mercy. (That’s two times so far that it’s mentioned, I think He means it). Third times a charm-Hebrews 4:16 states yet again how His mercy can and does save us when we need it most. Exodus 34:6-7 depicts how God is merciful and faithful. Luke 1:50 says God will show mercy from generation to generation. Finally, Hosea 6:6 tells us how God wants us to show mercy too-yep that’s right, you and me buddy. This mercy thing ain’t a one way street only coming from the big man himself, nope, its our job too.
Welp folks, I guess that about wraps up what mercy is and a brief glance at how God shows mercy, much different from the initial definitions of what we might think. This week we’ll investigate more into what our role in showing mercy is, embracing the mercy God’s gifted to us and just what it means to love mercy. If you have questions about what it means to be saved through God’s mercy or saved in general, please comment or message me-I’d love to talk with you and listen to whatever questions you may have and do my best to help answer them or guide you to where you can get some answers. Readers, its a been joy as always-thanks for stopping by-comment below a little of your story and how God’s mercy found you! 🙂