Above Pictured left to right: Author-Rhonda Rhea, Author-Linda Evans Shepherd, and Author, Singer, Songwriter-Babbie Mason. Advanced Writer’s Conference 2016!
I don’t have the spiritual gift of mercy. After a skinned knee when my kids were growing up, I would comfort for a minute or two, but then I would have to fight off an extremely strong urge to say something like, “Buddy, look, there’s no bone protruding through the skin. Nobody here needs a tourniquet or anything. So let’s walk it off, k?”
While mercy is not so much in my spiritual gift-pack, one look at my husband will tell you that he’s oozing with the stuff. Our children took the lo-o-ong way around—past me and my side of the bed—straight to him when they were sick in the night. Then they would say some version of, “Dad, I think I’m going to….” And that, have mercy, never ended well.
One time Richie and I were changing the sheets in the middle of the night. It was immediately after one of those Dad-sentences that had ended very “not well.” He cracked a smile and said, “You can tell by the mattress who has the gift of mercy in this house.” I looked at the mattress and, sure enough, his side was exceedingly mercy-stained.
“Hey, I may not have the gift of mercy, but I don’t think I’ll be losing much sleep over it—over here on my nice clean side of the bed, heh heh heh.” It was 3:00 a.m. I may not be witty at that hour but I still do have plenty of snark.
My natural tendency is to excuse any lack of compassion I may notice in myself with “that’s just not my gift.” But I’ve also noticed that God’s Word gives me a different message about mercy, and that even those of us who aren’t specifically gifted in mercy are still called to be merciful. Sure, there’s a special spiritual gift of mercy, but all of us are instructed to show mercy and compassion. Jesus made it clear in Luke 6:36: “Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful,” (HCSB).
So I’m commanded to show the same kind of mercy my heavenly Father shows. His mercy? So big! It’s the very reason I have new life. “According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3, HCSB).
I’m instructed to be merciful just like the Father, and the Father, according to Micah 7:18, delights to show mercy and kindness. Micah 6:8 holds these life instructions: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” (NIV). Not just show loving merciful kindness, but to love it.
Trying to operate in this life without showing loving mercy is like struggling to operate in spiritual bankruptcy. Paul speaks of our God being “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4). Rich! So anytime I’m feeling a little bankrupt in the mercy department, I can go to His throne and boldly ask, then make a withdrawal from His forever-wealthy mercy account.
Mercy. From every kind of personality. In every stage of life. And from any side of the mattress.