“Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ.” 2 John 3 NIV.

Grace adorns us; mercy spares us; and peace abides with and within us.

My thoughts and comments today are about “mercy.”

Who among us has not needed mercy? Everyone messes up sometimes. Our common humanity leaves us vulnerable to errors of both omission and commission, the omission of things we have not done when we should have and the commission of things we have done which we could and should have avoided. “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV. Among God’s many attributes, Paul rejoices that God, “is rich in mercy,” because of His excelling love and exceeding grace. Mercy is needed most and given best when deserved the least.

Everyone loves David’s Psalm, in which he concludes, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6. Be assure that God’s goodness and mercy are your promised companions throughout a lifetime, and beyond. Though an oversimplification, I choose to think of goodness to be, “God giving you what you have not deserved,” and mercy to be, “God sparing you from what you do deserve.”

Without mercy as companion, goodness would be overwhelmed with grief; without goodness as its source, mercy would merely be maudlin sympathy. “Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.” 2 John 3 NIV. Grace adorns you; mercy spares you; and peace abides with and within you. Mercy is the essential link between God’s grace and His peace. Read Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV.

Mercy begins with the benevolence of God. Read Psalm 136. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:3-4 NIV. But mercy must not end there. God’s mercy continues through you.

Jesus said, “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” Luke 6:36. All who receive mercy are accountable to administer mercy to others as freely as received. Jesus reminded His followers, ”Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7. Mercy flows to you only to the extent that mercy flows through you. As is true with most of the topics I share, mercy is more sincere in the everyday kindness we show one another than in occasional, grand gestures. Read Matthew 18:23-35. The attributes of mercy are: compassion, empathy, understanding, generosity, and forgiveness – with a healthy measure of forgetfulness. Reflect on Paul’s personal testimony of God’s mercy. 1 Timothy 1:12-17 NIV. If mercy could be given in spite of his history and failings, mercy is available to the worst among us.

Today, I pray for you that mercy will flow from God through your heart and life to others.