A Word About Mercy
“For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”
Psalm 86:5 (NKJV)
The Hebrew word translated “mercy” has four strands of meaning:
1. Leaning over and reaching out to someone.
2. Suffering with and sharing pity.
3. Being soft and providing comfort like a mother.
4. Relieving someone, stopping their groans by helping them to breathe (Resuscitation?).
In many ways God’s mercy goes above and beyond forgiveness and compassion; it represents an all-encompassing love for each and every one of his children, which not only embraces our human lives but enters into and shares in our struggles—actually dwells within us.
Notice just one section of Jesus’ High Priestly prayer in John 17:20, 21, 23 (italics mine), “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me…I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
Our God dwells in us and provides continually those four distinctive strands of mercy in our times of need; by reaching out to us; suffering with us; comforting us like a mother and helping us to breathe!
Mercy is also a very important quality for Christians to display in their lives, as Paul urges us in Colossians 3:12-14 (Phillips), “As, therefore, God’s picked representatives, purified and beloved, put on that nature which is merciful in action, kindly in heart, and humble in mind. Accept life, and be most patient and tolerant with one another, always ready to forgive if you have a difference with anyone. Forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven you. And, above everything else, be truly loving, for love binds all the virtues together in perfection.” Notice—we also need to share comfort with others!
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the all-merciful Father, the God whose consolation never fails us! He comforts us in all our troubles, so that we in turn may be able to comfort others in any trouble of theirs and to share with them the consolation we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3 NEB). Now, there’s a challenge!
Father, please help us to extend your mercy and comfort to others in their distress; taking time to reach out and express your concern and your love for them in a very tender way.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
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