Have you ever been in trouble? Have you ever been afraid of a punishment you knew you deserved? If so, you have longed for mercy. Mercy is so wonderful to experience because mercy is never deserved, However, people have a great need for mercy. God is the most merciful being in the world, and this devotional will help us understand mercy and how mercy should impact our daily lives. First, we need to understand what mercy is.
What is Mercy?:
Mercy is a great and wonderful thing because mercy helps those who are in trouble. When we are shown mercy, it means we are not punished, even though we deserve to be punished. Mercy is not getting the punishment we deserve. Mercy sounds pretty great doesn’t it? Mercy is especially great when we think about who has been the most merciful to us. God has shown us a great amount of mercy. God’s mercy never ends (Lamentations 3:21-24)! Romans 3:23 and 6:23 make it clear that sin is a pretty serious offense. God tells us that everyone has sinned and that the consequence of those sins result in spiritual death, which is an eternity away from God in Hell. Understanding the punishment we deserve allows us to truly appreciate the mercy of God. Let’s take a moment to think on what we have discussed so far and then think about mercy’s effect on us.
Stop and Think:
- What is mercy?
- Can you think of a time when you could have been punished but instead were shown mercy?
- Read Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23. How does understanding the punishment make you appreciate God’s mercy?
- Have you ever shown mercy to someone?
- Why do you think mercy is important?
Mercy’s Affect on Us:
God’s mercy is so great and so undeserving that it should should have a great affect on us. It should change our lives forever in many ways. Let’s consider 3 ways God’s mercy changes us.
Mercy Calls Us to be Thankful:
Since receiving mercy is such a great thing, we should always be thankful for it. This means we must be thankful to God, who has demonstrated the greatest amount of mercy to mankind. God’s mercy is so great because we deserved such a severe punishment because of our sins, yet God decided to withhold our deserved punishment. He gave that punishment to His son instead (2 Corinthians 5:21), thus showing mercy. When we recognize the great blessing of God’s mercy we should be overcome with joy and praise God, thanking Him for His great mercy.
Mercy Calls Us to be Better:
While mercy is not getting the punishment we deserve, it doesn’t mean it’s okay to do bad things. Rather, mercy should help us understand the importance of doing the right thing. When we receive mercy, we should recognize the punishment we escaped and show our gratitude by carefully and intentionally not making the same mistake. Consider Romans 6:1-4; it’s quite clear that God wants us to live in a way that honors Him, especially once we have experienced His mercy and grace.
Mercy Calls Us to be Merciful:
God’s mercy should make us merciful. This is the most important impact that mercy has on us. We need to be merciful just as God is merciful. When we are merciful we are imitating our Heavenly Father just as we have been called to do (Ephesians 5:1).
However, this doesn’t mean Being merciful is always easy. There are times we really want to let others have what we feel like they deserve, but we need to remember the words of Jesus who says, in Matthew 5:7, the merciful are blessed and will receive mercy. This doesn’t make showing mercy easy, but it does set the expectation, that Christians are expected to be merciful. Remembering God’s mercy can help motivate us to share mercy with others, because we know we desperately need God’s mercy. If we are not merciful, we will not be shown mercy. Recognizing the mercy, I receive is dependent on the mercy I give, calls us to be merciful.
Jesus tells a story in Matthew 18:15-35 that helps us understand just how important our willingness to show others mercy is.
“So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:35
We must be merciful if we want to receive mercy. God’s mercy is great and never ending but God expects us to be merciful just as He is merciful. If we refuse to show others mercy, God is going to refuse to show us mercy. Being merciful toward others will be rewarding and help us create better relationships while also showing how great God is, because His mercy is far greater. Therefore, as we are merciful, we must be so thankful for God’s mercy, that we allow our life to be transformed. When we are merciful, Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:7 can be said of us,
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
Take this devotional deeper by reading Matthew 18:15-35 and then discuss as a family the following:
- How important is showing mercy if we want God’s mercy?
- Why do you think God wants us to be merciful?
- Who can you show mercy to this week?
- How has God shown you mercy?
- How can you show God you are thankful for His mercy?
Bonus: Read Lamentations 3:21-24, and consider how can this verse help every day be a good day.