Summary: The spiritual gift of being merciful is far more than a feeling or an emotion: it reflects the mercy of God.
“Moved by Mercy to Be Merciful”
Romans 12:8d “He who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Today we look at the seventh spiritual gift mentioned in Romans 12, namely, that of being showing mercy to others. The gifts (prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, and showing mercy) are given to make the Body of Christ complete to SERVE with actions of the Savior and to SPEAK the words of God’s grace in Christ.
God moves and empowers Followers of Jesus by the Holy Spirit to show mercy toward others. The Holy Spirit endows some in the Body to be central in the sacrifice of their lives. The Greek work for “show mercy” is “Eleeo” (Eleos, n.): It means “to have mercy on someone, to help the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them”.
Followers of Jesus SHOW MERCY toward others
Being merciful is more than an emotion or feeling; It is more than feeling bad or sympathetic about someone else’s poor condition: SHOWING mercy is Spirit-led sympathy and compassion in ACTION: It consists of our attitudes, words, and actions. If we only “FEEL SYMPATHY” and do not move to action, we are actually UNSYMPATHETIC and UN-merciful.
Listen to Matthew 20:29-34: “As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" 32 Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. 33 "Lord," they answered, "we want our sight." 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” Mercy and ACTION are closely associated.
The two blind men knew that they were totally dependent upon Jesus to have mercy and show compassion. We have that realization too: Psalm 85:7 says: “Show us Your lovingkindness, O LORD, And grant us Your salvation.”
In the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:36-37, Jesus makes “showing mercy” a command, A MANDATE, for His Followers, not just a suggestion or a possibility: "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" 37 The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "GO and DO, likewise." (GO AND DO)
We like to simplify things don’t we? Give it to me straight: Go and Do likewise is pretty clear. Jesus gave another clear example in Matthew 25:35: “For I was hungry and YOU GAVE me something to eat, I was thirsty and YOU GAVE me something to drink, I was a stranger and YOU INVITED me in, 36 I needed clothes and YOU CLOTHED ME, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…verse 40: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.”
This is the way that followers of Christ respond when they know about or see those in need. Jesus spoke about that heart-condition in Matt 5:7: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Mercy doesn’t merely refrain from wrath or punishment; MERCY addresses physical, emotional, financial or spiritual crises with generous, self-sacrificial service. Mercy cares for the lowly, poor, exploited, and forgotten, and acts on their behalf.
Mercy is Passionate Compassion. The word for “cheerfulness” (hilarotçs) also means “readiness of mind”, and the rootword (hileôs) means simply, “merciful”. What is very important is that mercy speaks CLEARLY to the INTENT of HEART and MIND: It speaks of readiness and willingness without regret. 2 Corinthians 9:7 uses the word which we looked at in regard to giving: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” It is not only reflecting an outward smile but a condition of the heart. Your mind is set on being merciful to others and you act on your intentions. You are determined to demonstrate compassion to others. It is Passionate (Holy Spirited and Heart-felt) Compassion (mercy) and Compassionate (merciful) Passion (zeal).
(After Jesus had healed the demon-possessed man, he begged Jesus to allow him to come with Him, but Jesus would not. Instead He said Mark 5:19: "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you." We tell people about God’s Mercy but are also passionate about showing it in action too!
The MERCY of God has been PROVIDED for us.