What does mercy look like?

July 17, 2013

This post is part of the What Are You Wearing series


What exactly is mercy and even more so, what does it look like? This word mercy always trips me up.

It's a word I thought I knew what it meant, but when I took a closer look I discovered I didn't really understand it, at least not completely.

In Colossians Chapter 3, we are told to clothe ourselves or put on certain virtues, mercy being one of them.

Merriam-Webster defines mercy as "compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power; also : lenient or compassionate treatment". Other Bible versions use compassion instead of mercy. Merriam-Webster defines compassion as, "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it". 

Wow, sound like anyone you know? How about if I put it this way. Compassion shown especially to us sinners (Rom 3:23); our sin broke his heart (Gen 6:6) because the wage of sin is death (Rom 6:23) and he desires everyone to be saved and to understand the truth (1 Tim 2:4). How about now?

God who is so rich in mercy and loves us so much (Eph 2:4), sent His one and only Son (John 3:16) to die a horrible death on a cross to save us, to give us the gift of eternal life when He raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Eph 2:5). 

"he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit," Titus 3:5

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," 1 Peter 1:3

So, there you have it. Mercy. That is what mercy looks like and scripture also tells us to "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:36

But now what? We know what mercy is and we know how God demonstrated mercy, but how do we show mercy and receive it from others? I'm glad you asked. There is an example of this in the Bible told by Luke in Chapter 10 verses 30-37:

“A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

This isn't just a story about someone finally coming along and doing the right thing. The ones we think who would have helped the Jewish man passed him by. It is important to note, during this time period  the Jews and the Samaritans hated one another. Yet it was the Samaritan, the one we would least likely think would stop and help, in fact did. He recognized this man as a human worth taking care of and extended love. He showed the Jewish man mercy.

Have a blessed day!

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