The last gift listed in Romans 12 is the incredibly important gift of mercy. Please note off the bat that the gift of mercy is something that is shown. It isn’t something that is felt. Some people associate the gift of mercy with the feeling of compassion. While compassionate feelings are usually present with the gift of mercy, they are definitely not the same thing. This altruistic gift is demonstrated through action.
Showing Mercy to Anyone
If the one who has the gift of mercy is to demonstrate that gift through actions, to whom are they to demonstrate it? Part of the beauty of this wonderful gift is that mercy can be shown to anyone! For example, the gift of mercy can be shown to someone in financial need through the donation of funds. Or, it can be shown to someone in emotional turmoil through the offering of one’s shoulder to cry on. The gift of mercy is actively looking to help anyone in need. The one who possesses mercy is usually the champion of the bullied, the lost, or the rejected.
Showing Mercy with Cheerfulness
In addition to what the gift of mercy is defined as, we are also told how the gift of mercy is to be given: through cheerfulness. You’ll never meet a perpetually grumpy person gifted with mercy. The mercy-givers are the ones who are eager and happy to help!
As always, Jesus is the best picture of the gift of mercy in action. There are so many examples in The Bible of His mercy; from healing the lepers to feeding the hungry, to teaching the lost. But, the one that stands out the most was when Jesus reacted to the woman caught in the act of adultery. He defended her from her accusers, He protected her from her shame, He propelled her away from her past and pointed her towards a glorious future in Him! That is what the gift of mercy is all about!
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8 ESV
This is part of a series of articles about spiritual gifts. Click below to read more as they’re published.