What do you think of when you hear the word mercy?
Mercy is requested when we need forgiveness to avoid punishment and desired when we need relief from pain and suffering.
It is often thought of as compassion.
Years ago, I learned the following definition of God’s grace and mercy…
Grace = God giving me what I don’t deserve.
Mercy = God not giving me what I do deserve.
But I recently learned that God’s mercy includes another important quality, one that isn’t always included in our human examples. God’s mercy includes unimaginable love and loyalty.
God’s mercy flows from His unfailing love that lasts forever . . . a love that the Psalmists talked about so often.
In Psalm 28, David cried out for God’s mercy…
Listen to my prayer for mercyPsalm 28:2
as I cry out to You for help,
as I lift my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
David wrote these words after he had learned that individuals were only pretending to befriend him because they were using his position and power for their own benefit.
Have you ever felt betrayed by someone you considered a friend only to find out that they were only using you for their own needs and purposes?
It hurts, doesn’t it?
But the question becomes . . . what do we do about it?
David was the king. He had the authority to deal with these individuals in any way he wanted. But he didn’t.
He turned to God.
And that’s what we should do. God invites us to take our relationship struggles to Him and ask Him to help and protect us.
When we’re tempted to get revenge, God tells us…
“I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”Romans 12:19 (MSGb)
He invites us to keep our eyes on Him and trust Him to take care of us.
So, we go to the One who is love and compassion. We ask Him to cover us with His mercy and trust Him to deal with those who have hurt and betrayed us.
Just look at what David wrote after talking to God about his struggle…
Praise the Lord!Psalm 28:6–8
For He has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and shield.
I trust Him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
The Lord gives His people strength.
He is a safe fortress for His anointed king.
You and I can be honest and sincere with our Heavenly Father. People may use us, betray us, cheat us, or hurt us but our Father says, “Bring it to me. Trust me. Let me take care of it.”
When we do . . . we experience His peace and strength. And peace and strength lead to a heart that is filled with gratitude and joy.
So, when you’ve been treated unjustly and you’re tempted to take revenge, cry out to God and ask Him to cover you with His merciful compassion and love. The bonus blessing is that those who are filled with God’s mercy and love are more apt to extend it to others.
A Prayer for God’s Mercy
Father, Your Word says that You loved us so very much that although we were dead in our sins, You sent Jesus to save us and give us life. (Ephesians 2:4–5) It tells me that I can come boldly before Your throne in prayer and that I will receive Your mercy, and find grace to help when I need it most. (Hebrews 4:16)
I come to You, Lord, humbly asking for Your help. Please forgive me. I know I often fail to control my attitudes, words, and actions the way You desire. I can react impulsively neglecting the blessing of Your guidance and help.
Please fill me with Your Spirit. Please help me live with peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control . . . and especially with love. You have been so very merciful and compassionate to me. And it is by Your grace alone that I am able to live in faith, forgiven and free.
I trust You, Lord. I give myself to You. I thank and praise You and ask You to help me show Your mercy to others even when it feels impossible to me. You are the One who gives me strength. You are the One who fills my heart with hope and joy. Amen.
God hears our prayers because He loves us. He shows us compassion and unimaginable love because that is who He is…
God is love.
The Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.1 John 4:8, John 1:14
We can trust His promise to be merciful.
He hears our cry for mercy and He helps us and gives us strength.
So, always be prepared to “praise the Lord” and tell your story of His unfailing love.
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