True forgiveness is birthed in the bowels of mercy and compassion. These are intricately intertwined with the nature of God. He forgives us our sins out of his mercy and compassion which are renewed every morning.
Mercy in the ordinary sense is compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. It appears in the Bible as it relates to forgiveness or withholding punishment. But the Bible also defines mercy beyond forgiveness and withholding punishment. God shows his mercy for those who are suffering through healing, comfort, the alleviation of suffering and caring about those in distress.
In the context of our discussion mercy can be seen as being denied what we rightly deserved – the denial of a result consequent to our action. It is being denied punishment and the death we deserve for flouting God’s righteous laws. What do we deserve? In Romans 3:23, we read: “(We have) all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” As a result, Romans 6:23 prescribes what was due us – death and eternal separation from God. Obviously, the verse begins on a very gloomy note – “the wages of sin is death,” but it ends on a glorious note – “but the gift of God is eternal life” – demonstrating God’s mercy towards us.
Inherent in “mercy” is the element of “compassion.” In Psalm 103:8, we read: “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. This compassion was demonstrated by Christ several times during his earthly ministry.
Read Mark 8:1-3 and reflect on the compassion of Christ that led him to meet the needs of his hungry followers. He has not changed; his compassion always leads him to show us mercy in our hour of need. And today he will have compassion on you. Give your own definition of the word “Mercy.” And how have you experienced God’s mercy in your life? Who are you willing to extend this kind of mercy to?