The word mercy is recurrent in Christianity, but do you really know what it means? Do you know where it appears in the Bible? Do you need any clarification on its importance? We will see this and much more in this article.
Many images, texts, and prayers refer to God’s mercy and, although its meaning can be intuited, not everyone has to know it fully, much less its role in our religion.
If you want to delve into this fundamental topic for Christianity, stay and read this article that we have made with love for you. Here we will analyze this concept and we will know what the Bible has to say about it.
Take this journey of mercy with us and learn many things that you probably didn’t know! There will be explanations for all levels so surely some of these points will interest you.
Meaning of mercy in the Bible
If we look for the word mercy in language dictionaries, we find definitions similar to this: “inclination to feel compassion for those who suffer and offer them help.”
When you analyze the origin of the word in the languages in which the Bible was written, you can see that there are two possible translations: Rajamin in Hebrew or Eleos in Greek.
The first is usually defined as the feeling or irradiation of endearing affection; or also as the fact of being compassionate. However, this word only appears once in the original Bible and that is in Psalm 18:1.
“ I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.” (Psalms 18:1 KJV)
Eleos, on the other hand, picks up more on this meaning of piety and charity with which we identify mercy. This term appears up to 80 times in the Bible so it is not very recurrent because the Bible is very long.
In conclusion of this, we can say that mercy appears more in acts than explicitly described, and it is a clear reference to what God wants from us: mercy is based on acts, not words.
Mercy in the bible
Now we will show you some examples in which the word mercy appears explicitly in the Bible. We have chosen the most beautiful ones so that you can share them with your loved ones.
“ And the Lord passed by before him and proclaimed, The Lord! Jehovah! strong, merciful and pious; slow to anger, and full of mercy and truth” (Exodus 34:6).
In this verse, Moses reveals the true character of God: instead of being an evil entity, the Lord is merciful and loves all his creation, including humanity, with all his love.
“Justice and judgment are the foundation of your throne;
Mercy and truth go before your face.” (Psalms 89:14)
Here David tells us about the banners of the Lord, these being justice, mercy, and truth. We, as His children, must also share these ideas and make them known to the world.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
Although humans are weak and sinful, God gave Jesus to save us and forgive our sins. This is an act of mercy without equal and for which we must pray and love the Lord all our lives.
“By the Lord’s mercy we are not consumed, for his mercies never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Day after day the Lord mercifully forgives us and gives us a new opportunity to rectify and follow him. Take advantage of this opportunity and look for it in the Holy Scriptures, feeding your heart and your spirit.
“The Lord is good to all,
And his mercies over all his works.” (Psalms 145:9)
All the actions of the Lord are bathed in mercy, although it is often difficult for us to understand. God knows everything and knows what is the best action at all times.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, a faithful God, who keeps covenant and mercy to those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9).
The Lord will be merciful as long as we seek him and pray for him. Let us give thanks for all his love and revive our faith every day by living for everything he has taught us.
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Difference between Grace and Mercy according to the Bible
There is some confusion among Christians when it comes to differentiating the concepts of grace and mercy. While they can be used equally in many contexts, there are times when they don’t mean the same thing, and now we’re going to look at that.
The mercy of God is the fact that, even though we are sinners all our lives, the Lord allows us to live and reconcile with Him, even giving us his son to show us this.
God’s grace must be understood as unmerited favour. The Lord favors us with bounties that we do not deserve and that we can never achieve.
To contrast them, you must understand mercy as the fact that God prevents us from being judged, and instead; He gives us by grace salvation and happy life if we believe in Him.
Thus, mercy could exist without grace, simply if God avoided judgment, but gave us nothing else. However, the love of the Lord is infinite and luckily for us, it combines both characteristics in its maximum splendor.
works of mercy in the bible
There is a list of works of mercy that the Catholic Church recommends to all the faithful to live as God wants us to live and celebrate that He himself is merciful to us.
These are divided into two classes, with 7 works of mercy in each. The first is the spiritual works of mercy and the second is the corporal works of mercy.
In the spiritual works of mercy, we find the following: teaching those who do not know, correcting those who make mistakes, giving good advice to those who need it, forgiving offenses, comforting those who are sad, having patience with the defects of others and praying for the living and for the dead.
On the other hand, the corporal works of mercy are: visiting and caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, giving lodging to the pilgrim, clothing the naked, redeeming the captive, and burying the dead. the dead.
As you can see, the difference between one and the other is that the spiritual ones consist more of works to satisfy non-physical needs, while the corporeal ones seek to supply the most basic needs of human beings.
Examples of Jesus’ mercy in the Bible
Jesus also did works of mercy during his life, teaching us the ones we have listed above. On many occasions, this mercy was translated into miracles that healed the sick or even brought life to those who had lost it.
It is clear that we cannot reach such a point, but the example of the Lord, having mercy on the lower layers of society at the time, must mark our lives and our actions must try to be similar.
Next, we will see some of the acts of mercy of Jesus, although they are not all and we leave the most important ones that are the teaching of the Word of God and his sacrifice on the cross to save us all.
The two blind men
On his way, Jesus met two blind men who implored him to be healed. The people despised them and wanted them to get out of their way. However, Jesus acted with mercy and healed them.
With this act, he teaches us that many times acting with mercy means acting contrary to the wishes of other people, but that does not mean that it is wrong.
This act also hides another meaning is analyzed in more detail. Jesus is our light and due to various factors, there are many people who have not been able to see this light and therefore follow it. They are blind in spirit.
A great work of mercy is to show the Word of God and heal this spiritual blindness of those who need it. Do not judge those who do not follow God without first knowing why and, if you have the opportunity, show the greatness of the Lord with your own actions.
The woman from Canaan
Another well-known episode of Jesus’ mercy is the one narrated to us in Matthew 15:21-28 or Mark 7:24-30; in which Our Lord Jesus heals the daughter of a Canaanite woman who, according to him, was possessed by a demon.
In this case, it is the woman who, thanks to her faith, is rewarded with an act of mercy and her daughter is healed.
Faith in God saves us from living unhappy and all we have to do is keep it alive by praying and learning with the Word of God. Receive this mercy with your faith and never lose it.
Jesus heals a paralytic
Finally, we come to chapter Matthew 9:1-8, when a paralyzed person is brought to Jesus. Those present judged him for blaspheming and thought that Jesus would do nothing for him because of his sinful condition.
However, the Lord gives them an enormous show of mercy and, without judging that paralytic, heals him and he begins to walk. No human is free from sin and judging does not help us to be different.
Just as the Lord acts with mercy before our sins, we must do the same with the sins of others and have mercy before judging.
Show mercy according to the Bible
With all this, we can begin to see why it is necessary to act mercifully in our lives and what is the reward for it.
First of all, God is completely merciful and no matter how wrong we are, He will forgive us if we sincerely seek that forgiveness. This mercy is not attainable by any human, but it is an example to follow for all of us.
Later, thanks to Jesus we have been able to understand how we can apply mercy to our daily lives; especially by acting without judging other people and always with a transparent heart.
Living with mercy is thanking the Lord for his mercy, and with this good things will come into our lives.
Say a prayer for mercy
Sometimes we need to pray and ask God our Lord for mercy and we don’t know how to do it. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and give up on the act. And since we do not want this to happen to you, we share a prayer about mercy so that you can pray calmly and with a little guidance:
Whose Mercy is infinite and whose treasures of compassion have no limits, look upon us with Your favor and increase Your Mercy within us, so that in our great anxieties we do not despair, but always, with great confidence, conform to Your Holy Will, the which is identical with Your Mercy, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of Mercy, who with You and the Holy Spirit manifests Mercy towards us forever.