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Spiritual Gifts: Mercy

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Spiritual Gift of Mercy in Scripture:

Romans 12:6-8 - "In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly." NLT

Jude 1:22-23- "And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives." NLT

Matthew 5:7- "God blesses those who are merciful,for they will be shown mercy." NLT

Matthew 9:13 - "Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.'" NLT

Matthew 23:23- "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." NIV

Matthew 9:36- "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." NIV

Luke 7:12-13 "As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, 'Don’t cry.'" NIV

Acts 9:36- "There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor" NLT

Luke 10:30-37- "Jesus replied with a story: 'A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?' Jesus asked. The man replied, 'The one who showed him mercy.' Then Jesus said, 'Yes, now go and do the same.'" NLT

What is the Spiritual Gift of Mercy?

The spiritual gift of mercy is one in which a person demonstrates a strong ability to empathize with others with compassion, words, and actions. Those with this gift are able to provide some relief to those going through tough times physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

It is important to understand, though, the difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy sounds nice, but often has a level of pity involved in the emotion. Empathy is something that loses the pity and moves you toward action. It is understanding the deep pain or needs without feeling sorry for someone by being able to "walk in their shoes" for a moment. People with the spiritual gift of mercy no not feel pity, but feel a pull toward making a bad situation better. There is no judgement that comes from a person with this spiritual gift. It is always about making a person and his/her situation better.

However, there is a side of mercy that can lead people to think they have solved by problem by making things better for the moment. It is important that we realize that trouble at one time can often by a symptom of a bigger problem that needs to be solved. Also, people with this gift can sometimes enable people to continue their poor behavior by constantly rescuing them from bad situations. Mercy doesn't always involve making people feel better in the moment, but instead making them realize they need help, which will ultimately make them feel better.

Another caution for those with the spiritual gift of mercy is that they can appear naive or can be prone to others taking advantage of them. The desire to make a situation better and not be judgmental can lead to a difficult time in seeing true intentions lying below the surface.

Is the Gift of Mercy My Spiritual Gift?

Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer "yes" to many of them, then you may have the spiritual gift of mercy:

  • Are you often drawn to people who are suffering or in distress?
  • Does helping the sick, needy, disabled, elderly, etc. excite you?
  • Do you find yourself wanting to participate in ministries that work with job placement, food pantries, shelters, assisted living homes, etc?
  • When you consider college, are you looking at majors like Psychology, Sociology, Health Sciences, Social Work, or Medicine?
  • Do people seek you out when they are having a tough time?

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