Summary: This sermon is the fourth in a series of ten on Motivational Spiritual Gifts which communicates the characteristics of the Gift of Mercy in order to allow the Holy Spirit opportunity to reveal this gift to those who have it.
Today is Mother’s day and the most appropriate spiritual gift to talk about is that of showing mercy. Whether it’s a skinned knee or a broken heart mothers are the ones we usually turn to for compassion and love. However, there are just as many men who have the heart gift of showing mercy as there are women. In fact, of all 7 of the motivational spiritual gifts, mercy is the most distributed. One particular group of believers who teach discovering your spiritual gift from this perspective, in their survey indicated that in the distribution of gifts 30% make up the gift of compassion as they refer to it most frequently. So that would mean that 30% of the Body of Christ are compassion people who have the gift of showing mercy.
What we’re in the midst of is a series of sermons on discovering your Motivational Spiritual Gift. As 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” I believe every believer has been given one particular motivational spiritual gift or heart gift as Charles Wise refers to it. Your spiritual gift is a supernatural desire, a drive and a motivation out of which you allow the life of Christ to minister to other people. It’s 1 of 7 gifts that God has built into you and gives your life meaning and purpose. It’s what shapes your personality. It’s who you are in Christ. It’s your heart!
So today it’s my prayer that as we look at the gift of showing mercy that you will be open to and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you if this is your motivational spiritual gift or if it’s another to be revealed in the coming weeks. So let’s look at:
I. The Characteristics of the Gift of Mercy
The meaning behind the word mercy in a negative sense is to hold back what a person rightly deserves. In a positive sense, it’s to be understanding, compassionate and loving – to have pity on, to be compassionate by word or deed and specifically by divine grace. So one who has the grace gift of mercy has:
1. An Ability to sense joy or distress
The person with the gift of mercy is always going to be reaching out to help someone else emotionally. They have the ability to sense or feel the atmosphere of joy or distress where there’s misery, pain, suffering, grief or tribulation. This kind of person has a discerning spirit that’s able to distinguish in a group or an individual what’s going on emotionally. They have a sharp, sensitive awareness of someone else’s needs. That ability to be understanding has an attraction in itself. Mom’s, do you ever wonder why your teenage daughter likes a certain guy and you wish she‘d never look at him again? You don’t like the way he looks, dresses, or anything else about him and you think he needs a real mother and a real father! Your daughter has the gift of mercy and is attracted to him – he talks about his needs and all these problems he has in his life & he needs this & he needs that and the more he pours out – she just melts under that, she’s attracted to someone like that and the reason is, she has the gift of mercy. Or people are drawn to you, it’s like you’ve got written across your forehead – “Share all of your problems, your life story with me” and you listen for an hour and ½ in Walmart when this person is attracted to you and you’re available to meet their emotional needs. You make it easy for people to confide in you, you sense people’s hurt and share the pain with them. Of course, you have to be careful because sometimes people can take advantage of your sensitive nature. You not only sense the joy and distress but secondly you have:
2. A Desire to remove hurts and bring healing
A person with the gift of mercy always wants to remove hurt feelings. They say, “Yes, I know exactly what you mean.” Now, the person sharing may be dead wrong, but the person with mercy isn’t trying to defend or correct, but heal a broken heart or a broken spirit or a hurt spirit. A mercy heart is more interested in healing than in teaching some spiritual lesson that another gift may be interested in. They’ll have more concern for mental distress than physical distress. Last week we talked about the gift of serving and the server heart is more interested in meeting physical needs while the mercy heart is more interested in meeting mental and emotional needs. The person with mercy will be more interested in a person’s emotional upheaval and their inner struggles than maybe some physical things.