“The wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy.”

James 3:17 (NLT)

Would you like to see your relationships transformed? Then become an agent of mercy. 

Here are seven characteristics of mercy that God wants you to learn and apply in your life: 

1. Mercy means being patient with people’s quirks.
How do you become more patient with your kids, spouse, coworkers, or friends? You ask God for his wisdom. The Bible says in James 3:17, “The wisdom from above is . . . peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy” (NLT). 

2. Mercy means helping anyone around you who is hurting.
You cannot love your neighbor as yourself without being merciful. Proverbs 3:27 says, “Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it” (GNT)—and “do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:8 NIV).

3. Mercy means giving people a second chance.
When somebody hurts us, we normally want to get even or write that person off. But the Bible says, “Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others . . . Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ” (Ephesians 4:31-32 CEV).

4. Mercy means doing good to those who hurt you.
Mercy is giving people what they need, not what they deserve, because that’s what God does with us: “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back . . . Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36 NIV).

5. Mercy means being kind to those who offend you.
You’ve got to be more interested in winning people to Christ than in winning the argument. Jude 1:22-23 says, “Show mercy to those who have doubts . . . even though you are afraid that you might be stained by their sinful lives” (GW).

6. Mercy means building bridges of love to the unpopular.
When the Pharisees questioned why Jesus ate with tax collectors and other unpopular people, Jesus said, “‘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” (Matthew 9:13 NLT).

7. Mercy means valuing relationships over rules.
Romans 13:10 says, “Love fulfills the requirements of God’s law” (NLT). If you want to show mercy, put people before policies. Put their needs before procedures. Put relationships before regulations. Choose love over law.

Showing mercy doesn’t always come naturally. And so, in tomorrow’s devotional, we’ll discuss specific ways you can demonstrate mercy in your life.

Talk It Over

  • Why do we so often try to win the argument instead of trying to win people to Christ?
  • If mercy means valuing relationships over rules, what do you need to change about the way you interact with your children? What about with your coworkers or those with different political beliefs?
  • This week, how will you show mercy to people around you who are hurting?

Are you ready to accept God's mercy in your life?

Jesus didn’t come to judge you. He came to show you mercy, because “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13 NIV). There will be a judgment day. But Jesus came to offer you mercy now so that you can experience the power and joy that come from walking with him.

But there’s one condition: You need to ask for his forgiveness and mercy. Acts 2:21 says, “Anyone who asks for mercy from the Lord shall have it and shall be saved” (TLB).

If you’re ready to do that, then start by praying this prayer:

“Dear God, I want to have a deep and abiding faith in you. I confess that I have sinned and that I need your forgiveness and mercy. Thank you for loving me so much that you sent Jesus to die for my sins so that I can be forgiven.

“Jesus, you promised that anyone who believes in you can have a relationship with you and spend forever with you in heaven. I believe in you and accept you as my Lord and Savior. Please accept me into your family and help me to follow you faithfully and spend the rest of my life serving you. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.”

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