A Whimsical Dictionary: M is for Mercy

A Whimsical Dictionary: M is for Mercy

A Whimsical Dictionary of Surprising Influences.

M is for Mercy –

If grace is love smiling, and compassion love desiring, then mercy is love doing. Mercy is the fulfillment of needs through love-in-action. Mercy is the chief attribute of God, and so if we are made in His image, it is meant to be our chief attribute as well.

One biblical Hebrew word often translated as mercy is hesed, which is often viewed as lovingkindness and relational, covenantal love. The Hebrew word most often translated as mercy is rachem, a word related to the Hebrew word for womb. So mercy is in many ways a tender, protected place where life springs forth, a refuge of love. To live in God’s rachem is to live in God’s womb (Keren Pryor).

Describing mercy, then: love-in-action; lovingkindness; loyal compassion; faithful favor; the ardent desire to do good for others and meet their needs; the deep love reserved for someone in an intimate relationship, and if there is no prior relationship, mercy is the strong desire to treat someone as if that relationship existed.

Such is God with us. Such are we to be with others. To be merciful is to be a tilted and resilient loving cup, overflowing, dripping extravagantly,  and permanently located beneath the eternal tap to assure a constant supply from the love’s source. Tender mercy, tougher than the rest, outlasting all other attributes, extending into eternity. Mercy is the unlikely heartbeat of the universe.

What is so unlikely about mercy? Take a look around you in this world. What do you see a lot of… cruelty, revenge, unforgiveness, injustice, hard hearts. That’s right, the opposite of mercy. And yet, and yet, Scripture says that the whole earth is full of God’s mercy (Psalm 33:5, 119:64). Really? Yes! Creation was motivated by mercy, and is sustained by mercy. There is mercy shown every day by God and by people all around us. On the one hand, the world is filled with violence and hatred. On the other hand, it is saturated with the faithful, unfailing lovingkindness of God. In a rough and tumble world, God demonstrates that tender is the new tough. It may seem unlikely at times, but as light conquers darkness, mercy overcomes unmercy, overshadows it at every turn. Every breath is a mercy, every thought, every joy. In fact, it is God’s mercy that enables us to enjoy anything at all. Let faith open your eyes to see God’s mercy in every step, every sunrise, around every corner. Acknowledge the omnipresence of mercy every day. Mercy abounds. The whole earth is full of His mercy.