|“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7).
There are many ways to show mercy.
God delights in mercy, and as a believer you have the privilege of showing mercy in many ways. In the physical realm you can give money to the poor, food to the hungry, or a bed to the homeless. God has always wanted His people to be that way. Deuteronomy 15 says, “If there is a poor man with you . . . you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from [him]; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks” (vv. 7-8). Verses 12-14 instruct Israelites who release a slave to provide for the slave’s needs. That was the merciful thing to do.
In the spiritual realm you can show mercy by pitying the lost. St. Augustine said, “If I weep for that body from which the soul is departed, how should I weep for that soul from which God is departed?” (cited by Thomas Watson in The Beatitudes, p. 144). We mourn over the dead but do we mourn as much for lost souls? When Stephen was being stoned, he pitied his wretched murderers, asking God to forgive them (Acts 7:60). Jesus did the same (Luke 23:34). That should be our attitude as well.
Another way of showing mercy is to rebuke sin. Second Timothy 2:24-25 says, “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all . . . with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth.” It is merciful and loving to rebuke sinners because it gives them a chance to repent and be forgiven.
Prayer is also an act of mercy, as is preaching the gospel. In fact, sharing Christ with someone is the most merciful thing you can do!
There are many more ways to be merciful, but I hope these will stimulate your thinking and encourage you to discover as many ways as possible to pass on the abundant mercy God has shown to you.
Suggestions for Prayer
For Further Study
Determine who receives mercy according to the following verses: Matthew 6:14; Titus 3:5-6; Hebrews 4:14-16; James 2:13; and 1 Peter 2:9-10.