Sweet mercy ∙

Sweet mercy

The merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm. – Proverbs 11:17

Psalms 103:8 The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry, and filled with unfailing love.

Exodus 34:5-7

 5 Then the LORD came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh.

 6 The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

 7 I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.

Shakespeare wrote:

The quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blest; it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes the throned monarch better than his crown: his sceptre shows the force of temporal power, the attribute to awe and majesty, wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.

But mercy is above this sceptre sway; it is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself, and earthly power doth then show likest God’s (The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene I).

The Father is merciful, compassionate, gracious, and tenderhearted. He does not fail His children, nor will He abandon, leave, forsake, or desert them.

The Hebrew word translated as merciful is rachum. Rachum is derived from rechem, which literally refers to a woman’s womb. “The ‘womb’ carries with it a word picture of the tender care bestowed on an infant when it is most vulnerable” (NIDOTTE). It connotes the willingness to show favor, be gracious, and be compassionate.  

When this word is used to describe the Father, it conveys His strong ties with His children. He looks upon His own as a human father looks upon his children; He pities them. It also speaks of His unconditioned choice (TWOT).

Psalms 103:13 The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who reverence him.

The Father is merciful to His children because He is a committed, loving parent.

Sadly, the children of the King forget that He is the Father of mercies. We fail to remember our need for mercy. Our Father extends mercy to us because we desperately need it. We are incapable of living up to His divine perfections.

Mark 2:17 Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Our personal failure often leads to sadness, grief, and remorse. Consequently, we often come to the Father heavy laden with shame and regret. With sweet mercy, He recognizes our sad and contrite hearts, and responds with kindness and grace. He lovingly removes the burden and provides forgiveness and restoration.

Psalms 103:14 For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.


Grace is getting what you do not deserve. Mercy is not getting what you deserve.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercy and forgiveness. May I treasure Your mercy in my heart.


The Father has been merciful, gracious, and forgiving to us. He wants us to treat others similarly. He wants all children of the King to be defined by gentleness, warmth, and kindness in their behavior toward others.

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

Being merciful is good for us, while being unmerciful is harmful.

The Greek word translated as merciful is eleēmōn. Eleēmōn connotes being compassionate, sympathetic, and charitable. A merciful person offers leniency, compassion, and forgiveness, especially towards those that have offended them. Its Hebrew and Aramaic roots suggest a far richer concept. The Old Testament Hebrew word, typically translated as kindness, mercy, or lovingkindness, is hesed.

Hesed is hard to translate into English. Hesed encompasses much more than feeling sorry for someone. Instead, it involves genuinely understanding and empathizing with others by seeing things from their perspective and feeling what others feel. An excellent translation is loyal love. Few people express understanding and loyal love for others. Most people are so concerned with their own feelings that they do not concern themselves deeply with the feelings of others.

Proverbs 11:17 The merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm.

“Goodness benefits the one who practices it, but cruelty turns itself against the one who is guilty of it. Be kind to others, and you will be rewarded; be cruel, and you will suffer the results” (UBS).

Being merciful toward others has positive consequences. Showing sweet mercy is good for you.

Habakkuk 3:2 In your anger, remember your mercy.

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© Dr. H 2023

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