Mercy is not something we receive because it is deserved; mercy is, by definition, unmerited. God does not owe us His mercy, but because He is a God of mercy, He freely chooses to give it to us at great cost to himself. It is through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son that God the Father extends mercy to us. Only through the atoning blood of Jesus are we ransomed, healed, restored, and forgiven.
God does not owe us His mercy,
but because He is a God of mercy,
He freely chooses to give it to us
at great cost to Himself.
When we genuinely understand the extravagance of mercy, it makes us into merciful people. It is impossible to experience God’s mercy and then go on living as a merciless person. God’s mercy is too powerful than to leave an individual unchanged after receiving it.
The mercy of God transforms our hearts and teaches us to be merciful toward others. So much so, in fact, that Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Only merciful people experience the mercy of God. If you are not merciful, you will not receive God's mercy. When Jesus uttered these words, he was not saying that acts of mercy toward others earn God’s mercy toward us. He was saying, rather, that those who’ve truly experienced the mercy of God cannot help but to show mercy. We might say it this way: You can tell when someone has come face to face with God’s mercy because it is seen on their countenance, and in their merciful actions.
It is impossible to experience God’s mercy
and then go on living as a merciless person.
God’s mercy is too powerful than to leave
an individual unchanged after receiving it.
Every believer in Christ is commissioned to live mercifully in light of the fact he has received the mercy of God. Micah 6:8 says,
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
As you seek to fulfill this calling, the acronym "CARE" can help you posture yourself to be an instrument of mercy.
C – Contemplate upon the mercy you have received from God.
Start your day off by reflecting on God’s mercy. He didn’t show you mercy because you deserved it or because you earned it. Romans 5:8 says, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It was at your weakest and worst moment that God intervened and gave you mercy.
A – Ask God to pour out His mercy on others.
Think of people that need to experience the mercy of God. Perhaps you know of individuals right now who are struggling and in need of tangible mercy. Perhaps it is a neighborhood in your city, or maybe it’s a war-torn country. Cry out to God and ask for mercy on their behalf.
R – Reflect the mercy of God in the way you treat others.
Whether it’s the checkout lady at the grocery store, the barista at your favorite coffee shop, the person driving the car in front of you, or your spouse and kids, you have the opportunity to demonstrate the mercy of God everyday. As you live with an awareness of God’s mercy, you will reflect it in your demeanor. It will show up as forbearance, patience, kindness, gentleness, and a quickness to forgive.
When you fail to reflect God’s mercy and stumble into mercilessness, be quick to repent. Do not believe the lie that because you lost sight of mercy, the day is lost. The Bible says that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Acknowledge your sin to God, then rejoice in the good news of His never-ending mercy. Experience God’s renewal and press forward in reflecting His mercy.
E – Engage in mercy ministry.
Proactively get involved with a tangible expression of mercy. There are so many people around you that need God's love, from the homeless, to the oppressed and marginalized, to those suffering from a calamity, to those hurting from an ailment, sickness, or personal struggle. There are several opportunities to “get in the trenches” and tangibly express God’s mercy to those around us. There's no one way to engage; the only wrong action is inaction. In the words of Kevin DeYoung, "Just do something!" Below are six practical ways to get involved with mercy ministry.
Two ways to engage in mercy ministry through Immanuel Church:
Sponsor a child through The Haiti Collective
- Get involved with Families Count, a ministry that serves parents who are at risk of losing–or have lost–their children to DHR, by providing biblical, Christ-centered parenting education, as well as mentoring and support, to help them successfully care for, discipline, and attach to their children.
Two ways to engage in mercy ministry in Birmingham:
- Volunteer your time at a homeless shelter:
- Become an encourager through Work Faith Birmingham, a Christ-centered initiative aimed at helping individuals build a new life through work and faith. This ministry specializes in helping adults develop the confidence and life skills needed to become employable.
Two other ways to engage in mercy ministry:
- Get involved with NeverThirst, an organization dedicated to bringing clean water to the poor.
- Volunteer with International Justice Mission, a global organization that protects the poor from violence.