Faith That Works When The Pressure’s On: Faith that shows mercy to others
Mercy is more than an attitude, it’s a lifestyle. Webster’s Dictionary defines mercy two ways: First, mercy is “refraining from harm or punishment”; and second, mercy is “unexpected kindness”. So there are two sides to mercy. There’s the forgiving side and the compassionate side. The forgiving side is refraining from punishment and the compassionate side is going the extra mile to help somebody with unexpected kindness.
Bottom line: Give mercy to receive mercy.
Something To Talk About:
God wants you to be an agent of mercy in the world. Everyone needs mercy because everyone has messed up. We’ve all hurt other people and made mistakes. We’ve all sinned and we all have hurts, habits, and hang-ups as a result of the mistakes we’ve made. Mercy changes the lives of people who have made mistakes, and we who have received mercy freely can change the world around us by showing mercy to others.
- Show mercy to others because God has been merciful to you: The Bible says that God is merciful. It is emphasized all throughout the Bible. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of verses that talk about God’s mercy and His love, His compassion, and His grace. Ephesians 2:4-5 says, “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” The point of that Scripture is this: God wants me to act in the same way to other people.
- Show mercy to others because God commands you: In Micah 6:8, God speaks through the prophet to give us three big instructions for our lives. “The LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” God says if you want a summary of what life’s all about, and if you’re going to be in his family, this is what’s required of you: You need to do what is right with others, to love being merciful to others, and to live humbly in fellowship with God. One-third of God’s requirement for you on this planet is to learn mercy. Why? Because God is merciful.
- Show mercy because you’re going to need more mercy in the future: You’re not going to be perfect between now and when you get to Heaven. The Bible tells us we cannot receive what we are unwilling to give. James 2:13 says, “There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.”. Don’t you want to be able to do that on judgment day? To be able to stand without fear on judgment day? It says the person who shows mercy can stand without fear on the judgment day. It isn’t the people who have kept more rules than anyone else who gets to face their eternity with the greatest confidence. It is believers who have shown mercy to other people.
- Show mercy because it produces happiness: Showing mercy brings happiness. The Bible teaches over and over that the more merciful I am, the happier I’m going to be. Proverbs 14:21 says, “It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor; blessed are those who help the poor.” Being kind to other people actually blesses you and makes you happier in life. And mercy certainly produces greater joy in those to whom you’ve shown it. Would you rather live in a world that is harsh or a world where the people around you value mercy? You get to help shape a world of mercy around you and allow more people to find freedom from their past when you’re willing to show mercy.
- After hearing this week’s sermon, how would you describe “mercy” in your own words?
- What is the difference between grace and mercy?
- Mercy is a word that might be easy to say but can be really, really difficult to live out. So, why do you think God wants us to show mercy?
- Describe a time when someone showed you undeserved mercy or a time when you extended mercy to someone else.
- Do you think mercy is valued in our culture? Why or why not? Do you think the world sometimes confuses “mercy” with “tolerance”?
- “God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5.7). How are the merciful blessed? What does this look like? Have you experienced this? When?
- I Peter 2:10 says, “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” How have we received mercy through Christ?
- What are the ways in the home we can show more mercy, love, and kindness? Is there something we can stop doing? Do more of? Improve?
- In what practical ways can we better reflect God’s mercy this week?
- What are you going to do differently as a result of this message?
Take one thing home with you:
“God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
It seems pretty intuitive. Those who have received mercy are those who will show mercy. And only those who show mercy will continue to receive it. Showing others mercy isn’t just sentimentality or softness. It’s a service to others. Jesus doesn’t merely save us from something, He saves us for something. He wants to express His life through us as we serve others. Once I receive Christ into my heart, then His life, His love, His compassion, His gentleness, His mercy, will flow through me to others.