February 25, 2018

The Meaning of Mercy


We have now entered the season of Lent.  For many Christians, Lent is taken as a time of preparation for the celebration of Easter where God miraculously redeemed mankind by resurrecting His Son from the dead. It is also a time to consider what Jesus said and did; and how we should be living in light of His Words.  ✞ ♥

During this season, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have chosen to focus our devotionals on Jesus’ instructions and admonition communicated in Matthew chapter 5—the Beatitudes.  Jesus said, “Blessed are…” and He went on to give instruction as to how to be “blessed.”  To be ‘blessed’ is to ‘be happy, or to be envied.’   Truly for the Christian, we ARE blessed—oh, how very blessed we are!  Those who observe our lives should clearly be able to tell that we ARE blessed—and that we KNOW it! ✞ ♥

Please consider Jesus’ instructions along with us.  We pray that our words will encourage you and spur you on to be prepare your hearts for the joyous celebration of His Resurrection!  ✞ ♥

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 
Matthew 5:7 NIV


: treating people with kindness and forgiveness: not cruel or harsh
: having or showing mercy
: giving relief from suffering

I like definitions.  I like to know the exact meaning of words because I think that a lot of words have been lost in translation.  And, despite the emotional power of words, I like to know the exact meaning in addition to the feeling they bring. Merciful is one of these words.  We know the general concept, but I think we often forget what this word really means.

  • Kindness
  • Forgiveness
  • Not cruel
  • Not harsh
  • Giving relief

Mercy takes another step past the feeling it brings and the words used to define it.   Mercy is something we can have and something we can show—merciful should be our way of life.  The thing I love about mercy is that throughout the day we are constantly presented with opportunities to offer mercy to others: while driving and we get cut off; to our snarky co-worker; to the person in a hurry who bumps into us on their way out; to our spouse; to our children.  Mercy isn’t reserved for the pure of heart, in fact it may be most effective on those we feel don’t deserve it.

There is another category of people who deserve our mercy—perhaps the hardest group to offer it to—ourselves.  When I’m working with patients dealing with guilt issues, I always remind them that in most cases it is hardest to forgive ourselves…hardest to show ourselves mercy.

This week I want to incorporate these words into my daily prayers; I want to be intentional in living and showing them to myself and others.  Not because I know what it feels like, or because I know what it means, but because Christ is merciful to me.  He showers mercy on me daily, and because of this I know that I can show it myself and I can show it to others.

Let’s pray:  Dear Heavenly Father, mercy is a common word, yet most of us don’t know what it truly means. Lord, please play these words over and over in our heads this week—”kindness…forgiveness…not cruel…not harsh…giving relief.”  Remind us of the times we were shown mercy and, because You have done so, we can and should do the same.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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About Tonya Ellison

Tonya Ellison — Blog Contributor
Tonya comes to us from Rio Rancho, New Mexico where she lives with her four favorite people, three kids ages 4, 6, and 9, and her husband of seven years, Jamel. Her hobbies include writing and reading, crocheting, and spending time with her family. She earned her BS in Human Services/Management and works as a Bereavement Counselor.


  1. Clella Fox says:

    Tonya, thank you for reminding us to not only be merciful to others but to ourselves as well. We certainly can be pretty harsh on ourselves at times. I’m praying your prayer right along with you, and praising God for His mercy to each of us.