Definitions of the word mercy: 1) a compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or one subject to one’s power; 2) lenient or compassionate treatment; 3) a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion; 4) a fortunate circumstance; 5) compassionate treatment of those in distress
In Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary the word mercy was defined as the act of sparing or the forbearance of a violent act expected. The first mention of the word mercy in the Bible is found in Genesis 19:16 where Lot and his family is spared from God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. The book of Psalms is full of the use of the word mercy. Examples of mercy are seen throughout the Old Testament and as we see in the New Testament, God shows His ultimate mercy on mankind by giving His Son as a perfect sacrifice for our sin. So let’s take a look at what mercy really means to the believer.
I once read or heard a story about a young soldier in Napoleon’s army that committed an act of some kind that was not acceptable for a soldier. The punishment for that type of crime was usually death but a military trial was conducted before sentencing was pronounced. The soldier’s mother had the opportunity to appear before Napoleon and while doing so she asked that he have mercy on her son. Napoleon considered the request then made the statement “Your son doesn’t deserve mercy.”; to which she replied “If he deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy.” I don’t know the outcome of this story but it sure sheds a light on what the meaning of mercy really entails. I believe definition three above is probably the closest thing to the biblical definition.
We all need to stop and consider what a blessing it is that God has shown us such great mercy. Mercy is another one of those “Wonderful Words of Life” that is impossible to fully define and describe in words that can leave us with a full understanding of it. But God has chosen to show us mercy when we obviously don’t even deserve His consideration of our condition. His desire to have a relationship with us has brought about this mercy and we need to be constantly reminded of what He gave when He provided His only Son as the atonement for us. It is very difficult to separate God’s mercy from His love and His grace. To me these three words go hand in hand when we try to make sense of His gift of salvation. I’m so very thankful that He has demonstrated His love for us, shown His mercy towards us and by His grace has saved us because we have placed our trust in Him through faith.
To God be the glory and honor and praise forever and ever! Amen and amen!