If my late mother said it once, she said it a thousand times – “Lord, have mercy!”
Mercy is closely akin to grace. In many of his greetings to the churches; Paul, the Apostle, included the words “mercy” and “grace.” A simple definition of grace is “unmerited favor.” Webster defines mercy as “compassionate leniency toward a wrongdoer or enemy.”
My friend, Claude Haley, when asked, “How are you doing?” always replies, “Better than I deserve!” That is mercy applied.
Another friend, the late Brother J. Frank Carr, was a former missionary to Japan and Baptist preacher who once supplemented his income by raising feeder pigs. That was in the 1970s. At the time I was employed by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture as a livestock grader.
One Thursday morning, while grading pigs at Smith County Commission Co. in Carthage, I looked up to see Bro. Carr following a sizable load of pigs up to the grading pen. He was delighted to see I was the grader that day.
“Good morning, Jack!” he said, with a beaming smile. “About these pigs,” he continued. “Now, Jack, I’m not looking for justice. I’m asking for mercy!”
I fully understood from where he was coming. Fortunately, his pigs were of excellent quality that day, and mercy did not have to come into play.
Charles H. Spurgeon was of the greatest English preachers of the 19th century. Known as “the boy preacher,” he began preaching at age 16 and was preaching to thousands by the time he reached his early twenties. He is without question the most published preacher of this time. His daily devotional, Morning by Morning is a classic, and one of my favorites. I would highly recommend your doing yourself a favor and getting a copy. You can thank me later.
Here is what Spurgeon had to say about God’s mercy:
God’s mercy is tender.
Psalm 147:3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
His mercy is infinite.
Psalm 118:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: because His mercy endureth forever.
His mercy is undeserved.
Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us; Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
His mercy is effective.
Psalm 90:14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
His mercy is abundant.
Deuteronomy 5:10 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
His mercy is unfailing.
Hebrews 13:5 For he hath said I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Psalm 23:6A Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
And here is the great invitation:
Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
For many, many years, our prayer for our beloved country, the United States of America, has been, “God bless America.”
In these perplexing days when it appears our nation is headed down a slippery slope, maybe our prayer should be “Lord, have mercy.”
Justice may be more than we can bear.