Spiritual Gifts, pt. 3, Mercy

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Spiritual Gifts, pt. 3

“The Gift of Mercy”

Rom. 12


Ever come to church w/ a heavy burden?



You decide to go anyway, but to put on your plastic smile and fake it…not bother anyone else w/ it.


Then someone approaches you and says, what’s wrong?

        Me?  Nothing!

Are you sure?

        Well…how did you know?

It’s written all over your face!  They look in to your eyes, and it’s like they can look inside your soul and read your mind.

They put their hand on your shoulder and say, it’s ok, God’s gonna see you thru.

The tears begin to flow, and before you know it, you’re pouring out your heart to that person.  You allow them to help you carry that burden.


If you’ve had an experience like that, you’ve likely come into contact w/ a mercy-giver!


Many tell you they are praying for you when you need it...the mercy shower actually DOES pray, unlike many who are just saying the right thing.


What is the gift of mercy?

Definition, description, dangers…


Definition:      aka “compassion”, the gift of mercy is a special sensitivity to suffering, sorrow, misery, and distress.  A mercy-shower can see these things in the lives of others when most of us would not notice.  It’s like they have a 6th sense…you can’t fake them out/fool them…they see beyond it, and they know when something’s bothering you.


Also, the mercy-shower has a desire and special ability to alleviate the suffering, or at least minimize it.  They instinctively know how to do the right thing/say the right thing to help shoulder your burden.


With the gift of mercy, a person is in their element when they are visiting the sick, nursing homes, jails or prisons, working w/ handicapped, mentally challenged, poor and homeless.

The mercy-shower feels at home with those that many of us feel uncomfortable around.


The church needs mercy-showers.  Jesus said in Mt. 25

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.


The burden you carry will either be dramatically helped or drastically harmed by something that is said or done by someone at church.

Ill.—Job lost it all—3 friends came and only made things worse.


The mercy-givers are like the endorphins in the body of Christ, and the members of the body would hurt much less if the mercy-givers would all exercise their gift, if the hurting would accept it in love, and if those of us who don’t have the gift (like me) would carefully think before we speak, if we speak at all!


“They’ll know we’re Christians by our love”


And yet the Christian Army has become well-known as the only army that shoots its wounded!  How sad!  We need some mercy-givers to jump in head first and use their gift, and help change that reputation!

Paul told Timothy in II Tim. 1

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee

        Stir it up, use it, put it to work!


Now a description of the mercy-giver:

  1. To know them is to love them

Very well liked. Like the apostle John…

Jn. 13

23 Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.

Often John referred to himself that way.


Did Jesus love the other disciples?  Of course!  But there was something special between John and Jesus, and it was obvious to everyone, or John would not have presumed to take the liberty of calling himself that. 

        There is good evidence that John had the gift of mercy…to know him is to love him!  {Peter?  Not so much!}


Not everyone loves the one w/ the gift of ruling…he’s not always popular

Nor the exhorter, who sometimes comes on too strong

Nor the prophet, who allows the truth to hurt, steps on toes!

Nor the giver, who God blesses w/ resources…(jealousy)

Nor the teacher, who sometimes talks over your head.


But everyone loves the mercy-giver.

Because they’re non-confrontational.  They’re not trying to be the solution to your problem…just to sympathize w/ you.

They’re not there to tell you what you need to hear, but to cry w/ you.  (often they know what you need to hear, but don’t share it, fearing they’ll make things worse, or hurt your feelings)

        Sometimes a mercy giver will call me and say, so-and-so is going thru this, and they need someone to tell them…

“You’re right, that’s exactly what they need to hear…did you tell them?  Why not?”

        I didn’t want to hurt their feelings! (but they don’t care if I do!)


The mercy-giver is usually soft-spoken, have low key, inoffensive personalities, are agreeable, peaceful, and are good listeners, making good eye-contact!


To know them is to love them.


  1. Attracted to people in distress.


They gravitate to those in trouble…like they have a built-in sensor on their head!

Jn. 19

26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

In Jesus’ loneliest hour, the only disciple present w/ him still is John!  Then John helps this distressed mother, taking her in!


Do people want to talk and open up to you?  Can you tell when they’re down…even when they try to hide it?

        God may have given you the wonderful gift of mercy!


To know them is love them/attracted to those in distress…


  1. Wants to be there first when tragedy strikes

Jn. 20 (following resurrection)

3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

The mercy shower hears someone is in the hospital and poof, they’re on their way…it’s a no-brainer!

Death comes to a fellow church member’s family:  they’re at their side instantly, holding them…funeral home:  1st there, last to leave…checks up on them for months to come!

They want to be on the scene, and be there first, and last!


  1. Usually a follower, rather than a leader.


Extremely rare that one will have gift of mercy and ruling.

Jn. 21

19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following

Here’s Jesus and Peter taking a walk along the shore, and Peter turns around and there’s John walking behind them!

        Not flashy/flamboyant/showy…usually scores high in serving (behind the scenes), though when trouble comes, they’re front and center on the scene…or should be!


Personality type is not really very outgoing.  They’re a follower (nothing wrong w/ that!)


5.     Has deep faith

Jn. 20

8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

Jesus had told all of them he would rise again, but the 1st to believe it on this day was John (echoed in his head, “I will rise again!”)


They have a deep faith because they are constantly in the trenches, experiencing difficulties right alongside others, and they’ve seen firsthand what God can do!

        They’ve cried w/ the one who said, “I can’t make it” and have said from experience, yes you can, I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it, I’ve been there!

Financial prob./cancer/losing spouse or child


They’ve gained their deep faith thru tough, personal experience.


That’s a description of the gift of mercy…


Now, the dangers of the gift:


Satan will try to take your good gift from above, and use it in a negative way.  The river of the gift of mercy is a blessing from God when w/in its banks, but if it gets out, the result is destruction, it gets off course, and creates a big mess for everyone!


  1. Danger of giving poor advice (unscriptural) for the sake of not hurting feelings. 

Not always the best counselor.  They can cry w/ you, but not counsel w/ you.  They’ll be tempted to tell you what you want to hear, rather than what you need to hear.

Mercy shower, don’t let Satan use you in a negative way.  Force yourself to give Biblical counsel, not emotional counsel!/tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.


  1. Danger of getting very depressed as you try to carry other’s burdens. 

Mercy people:  after you’ve cried and sympathized w/ someone, after you’ve followed the scriptural command to “bear one another’s burdens”, you have to take that burden to the Lord and leave it there! “Weep w/ them that weep”

Ps. 55:22  “cast thy burden…”


I Pet. 5

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.




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