My wife and I were sitting in a community group when someone asked the dreaded question, “Define mercy?” Everyone kind of looked around and you could tell that everyone was embarrassed that they didn’t have an answer to this question. I felt extremely uncomfortable, because honestly I had never truly defined mercy. Trying to bring clarity, I said, “Mercy is just something we know.” Looking back, that was the worst answer I could have possibly given. After that question was posed, I was determined to learn how to correctly define it. I spent copious amounts of time trying to define this word that I had felt on various occasions.
One way that we all feel mercy is through forgiveness. We need the Lord’s gracious mercy continuously, but do we really understand what it truly means to be extended mercy? The good news, is that Malachi 3:6-12 helps us form a clear view of this beautiful concept.
Read: Malachi 3:6-12 (ESV)
"6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ 8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer[a] for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts."
Understand: The Israelites rejected the mercy of God time and time again. They were constantly finding themselves in unrighteous situations. Twenty-First Century Christians are no different than the Israelites. It is often times easy to question the Lord when we do not see or feel Him working and moving. However, we must remember that the Lord does not change. God is consistently working even when we do not feel it. We are in need of God’s mercy, because we cannot be in tune with the Lord without it.
· What is mercy to you?
· In what ways have you seen or felt mercy?
· Now, think of a time where you showed mercy to someone else.
· What did it take to be merciful in these situations?
Discuss: Bring these thoughts and ideas to at least two others (spouse, friend, co-worker, etc.) throughout the week.
Pray: Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy loving kindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for they goodness’ sake, O Lord. Lord I pray that you would present me with opportunities today to spread your tender mercies and your loving kindnesses.
 Psalm 25:6-7
Penned By: Tim Goodwin (Farmingdale Associate Pastor)