The best explanation I’ve heard of the difference between the words grace and mercy is this: Grace means “receiving what is not deserved”; in other words, grace is God’s unexpected blessings on our lives. Mercy means “not receiving what is deserved”; in other words, mercy is God’s amazing compassion on us as we flail about in life, struggling and sometimes failing miserably.
The Hebrew word hesed, which means “mercy,” can also be translated “unfailing love.” As Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:13, God’s mercy can cover even the worst of sins. God loves us unconditionally, forgives us our many trips and falls in life, and helps us back to our feet as often as necessary. God’s mercy is rich and endless. What an astonishing joy it is to know that in a world that can often disappoint, God never does!
But the flow of mercy must not end with us. Christ reminds us that we are called to extend that mercy to those around us who need it:
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. — Matthew 5:7
Mercy is God’s covenant love for us. It covers us, supports us and sustains us — even when we fall. As believers, we are then called to show that love and that compassion to those around us, whether or not they deserve it.
When we reflect God’s mercy, we show His light to the world.
~ Ramona Richards
Excerpted with permission from Fulfilled: The NIV Devotional Bible for the Single Woman, copyright Zondervan.
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Mercy is God’s avalanche of compassion on us as we flail, and blow it, and don’t deserve forgiveness or another chance. Isn’t that incredible? He has mercy on us no matter what. How can we not respond with such gratitude that is pours out as mercy on others who don’t deserve it either? Come join the conversation on our blog. We would love to hear from you about extending mercy. ~ Devotionals Daily