Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy (KJV).
Without mercy, it would be impossible to fully benefit from the blessings of God. Apart from it, people will fail to enjoy life to the fullest. Mercy and peace are linked together in Scripture, which also reveals that in order to have peace we also need to be merciful. Frankly, without it, one could never truly be happy. By definition, mercy means compassion or active pity. Therefore, to be merciful means to be compassionate as an attribute of one’s character. That means when a person does an act of mercy, it is not a mere act. Rather, it is the result of what is in the heart. Because a person is merciful, he will extend mercy. The motive behind compassion is not self-serving; it is outward focused. Meaning, we do not extend mercy in order to get mercy. Because love motivates us, we desire others to receive it. Extending mercy out fear of judgment is not love nor is it faith. Because God is merciful, we should be merciful.
Love destroys an enemy through mercy. Think about this: we were once enemies of God. He could have destroyed us through judgment. We could be swimming in the lake of fire instead of partaking in His wonderful River of Life. True justice requires judgment for sin; nevertheless, without mercy, true justice could not be carried out. Because of God’s mercy, He exacted judgment on the Son, so we would not have to receive the punishment we deserve. Titus 3:3-6 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour (KJV). Justice was served, yet mercy prevailed in love. Mercy withholds punishment, even when punishment would be just.
Compassion desires to relieve those afflicted by sin. Self-righteousness could care less if people are suffering as the result of their sin; in fact, it takes glee in their suffering. The self-righteous forget that they were once sinners, subject to the judgment, and suffered as the result of their sin. The compassionate remember their own pain; therefore, they will not judge others for theirs. They have grown to hate the phrase, “They deserve what they get.” They embrace James 2:13 where it says, “Mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (KJV). God’s soul grieves for those who suffer, even as the result of sin (see Judges 10:13-16). If God gave you a new heart, your heart will be compassionate for the lost. It will desire to see them saved from the coming Judgment. God is Love, and mercy is Love in action as He likewise extended meekness and forgiveness. He restrained judgment in order to forgive us. Do you refrain from judging others and extend forgiveness?
When people fail to extend mercy, they place themselves in an awkward position with God. In the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, a servant failed to extend mercy to another servant after receiving mercy. Jesus tells us, “Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Matthew 18:32-35, KJV). If we receive forgiveness, we should also forgive others. Here is another passage of Scripture to consider: “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard” (Proverbs 21:13, KJV). When people fail to be compassionate, they stop the favor of God from operating in our lives. However, when they let mercy flow, it is amazing how much mercy they receive in their lives. For example, how many of us have made a mistake that should have cost us our job, yet we still have it? How many have had near misses in life that could have been catastrophic, if God had not intervened on our behalf? There are innumerable examples of God’s mercy at work in our lives. Remember, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Galatians 6:7-9, KJV).
Mercy seeks to relieve those in distress through acts of kindness. It extends the cold cup of water to the thirsty. It heals the broken hearted and extends peace to the distraught. Mercy pleads the case of the defenseless. It forgives and forgets. It connects with God’s grace in order to empower the believer to show loving kindness to “the unlovable.”