Living a Life of Mercy

I hear a lot more talk about grace than I do mercy. You too? I’ve heard it said that if grace is getting what we don’t deserve then mercy is not getting what we do deserve. God gives us an abundant dose of both grace and mercy, especially in light of the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary over 2,000 years ago. In Jesus, we see the ultimate picture of grace and mercy showered down upon us as He bore the full brunt of our iniquities and transgressions against our Holy God. On the Cross, Jesus himself experienced no grace and zero mercy. Yet, in His sacrifice, Jesus provided grace and mercy for us. The dictionary describes mercy as compassion or forbearance shown toward an offender.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Matthew 5:7
Image by Robert Allmann from Pixabay
Scripture mentions mercy frequently. For example, the Book of Psalms contains mercy in numerous verses. Here are a few examples:
  • Psalm 13:5- 6 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
  • Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;
  • Psalm 33:22 Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.
  • Psalm 136:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.
Original image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Mercy is radical kindness. Mercy means offering or being offered aid in desperate straits. Mercy is not deserved. It involves forgiving the debt, absolving the unabsolvable. Mercy, grace, forgiveness and compassion are synonyms. 

Anne Lamott from her book, Hallelujah Anyway

Because the Lord has been merciful to us, we should extend mercy to others. God showers us with an ocean full of mercies. So what does living a life of mercy look like in reality?

I think we begin by learning to receive mercy ourselves in order to extend it to others. Once we’ve repented from our sinfulness and experienced grace and mercy through God’s forgiveness than we can understand how to go and do likewise. By seeing God’s compassion play out in our lives, we can show compassion and mercy to others. Ultimately, the Lord is our greatest teacher when it comes to our learning how to be merciful.

I believe that the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel of Luke depicts what mercy is, as do the stories of Joseph and that of the relationship between Jacob and Esau. In our lives, mercy means readily forgiving someone who has offended us even before they ask. Mercy creates an atmosphere where people are free to admit their mistakes. Mercy cares for those who cannot help themselves and for those who can do nothing for us in return. Mercy extends love to those who need it.
Mercy cares for the orphans and widows, the lost and the least, and the marginalized. Mercy sees the person God made and therefore, treats them with dignity and respect, regardless of their worldview.
Mercy is crucial if we desire to point people to the Cross because mercy shows people who feel unlovable and forgotten that they are loved. When we live lives of mercy, we will look radically different from our former self-centered, prideful selves and instead reflect Christ working in us.

The Devotional Guy™


  1. Thanks for bringing forth “mercy” into the discussion. As you stated, grace, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness are all part of God’s plan.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. Mercy has been on my mind a lot during my chaplain training the past several weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lily Pierce says:

    Great post, Rainer. I love the quote–mercy is radical kindness. What you said about the Lord showing us how to be merciful reminded me of the phrase “We forgive because God forgives us.” I love the element of mercy that comes up later on in the story of Jacob and Esau. I had only heard the main part of the story as a kid growing up in church and remember reading the whole story more recently and being blessed by that part. Kinda reminded me of the prodigal son parable. Also love your last paragraph–so true! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Lily. I greatly appreciate you reading the post and sharing your thoughts.


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