What is Mercy?
Our question for today is: What is mercy?
There are a couple of stories in the Bible that teaches us what mercy is. We will look at three of them.
Matthew 9:27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, [Thou] son of David, have mercy on us. 28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. 29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. 30 And their eyes were opened;
These blind men asked Jesus to have mercy on them. What did they want Jesus to do for them? They wanted Him to open their eyes so that they could see. Jesus did not owe them anything. But Jesus treated them better than they deserved. Even though they could have stayed blind for the rest of their lives, Jesus had mercy on them – He treated them better than they deserved.
Our next story is found in Matthew 15:22 “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, [thou] son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” This lady’s daughter had a problem, and she wanted Jesus to help her. She wanted Jesus to have mercy on her. She knew that Jesus did not owe her anything, so she asked Jesus for mercy – to treat her better than she deserves.
Matthew 17:14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a [certain] man, kneeling down to him, and saying, 15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is a lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
This man’s son had a problem, and he wanted Jesus to help him. He wanted Jesus to have mercy on his son. He knew that Jesus did not owe him anything, so he asked Jesus for mercy – to treat him better than he deserves.
In all three these stories we can see that mercy is treating others better than they deserve.
This eternal truth is also taught in the book Story of Jesus, p. 61 “”Blessed are the merciful.” Matthew 5:7. To be merciful is to treat others better than they deserve. So God has treated us. He delights to show mercy. He is kind to the unthankful and to the evil.”
So what is mercy? To exercise mercy is to treat someone better than he/she deserves. Mercy can never come from a selfish heart, but only from a heart where unselfish love reigns supreme. All true Christians who have been born again and have God’s character of unselfish love will exercise mercy by treating others better than they deserve.
This means true Christians won’t just be friendly and loving towards those who are friendly and loving towards them, but true Christians will also be friendly and loving towards those who treat them badly, unjustly and harshly.
Luke 6:36 – Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Just as God treats us better than we deserve, so we should exercise mercy and treat others better than they deserve.