I love the Lord, for he heard my voice, he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live (Psalms 116:1-2 NIV).
“Mercy” is sometimes translated “loving kindness”. My husband, Richard, says, “Mercy is not getting what we do deserve”. A. W. Tozer puts it this way, “We who earned banishment shall enjoy communion; we who deserve the pains of hell shall know the bliss of heaven. And all through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us…Mercy is an attribute of God, an infinite and inexhaustible energy within the divine nature which disposes God to be actively compassionate.”
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy…. [here is God’s definition of mercy] He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him, for He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes, for the wind passes over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them (Psalm 103:8-18 NKJV).
Loving kindness defines God and His mercy. This promise of mercy bore flesh as Jesus, the mercy seat, provided redemption for those who would believe in Him. Christians, having experienced that mercy, have within ourselves the Spirit of God who can enable us to exhibit a sweetness of gracious compassion we could not do on our own. It is not within our sinful nature to do so; however, having taken on the nature of God as one of His children, we can then demonstrate what that is like in real life and real time. Non believers are not so much taken by what we say, but what we do. When our reaction to their unjustness toward us is compassion and kindness, it takes a little of the wind out of their sails. Merciful kindness is an unexpected response to cruelty and judgment.