Attributes of the Gift of Mercy

Greek word – Eleeo (el-eh-eh'-o) -- to have mercy on
to help one afflicted or seeking aid
to help the afflicted, to bring help to the wretched
to experience mercy
kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them
of men towards men: to exercise the virtue of mercy, show one's self merciful
of God towards men: in general providence; the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to men salvation by Christ
the mercy of Christ, whereby at his return to judgment he will bless true Christians with eternal life
The Biblical illustration for the gift of Mercy is John and the Good Samaritan.

Mercy/Compassion is neither a “feminine” or “masculine” gift. It is a character trait of God as are all the Motivational Spiritual Gifts. I know this study has turned out to be way more work that you normally do on Sunday morning or whenever you happen to read this. However, the lessons that have been incorporated here will prove invaluable for you if you take the time to actually do the study.

More people have the gift of Mercy than any other gift. It balances all the other gifts as in the case of balancing strengths and weaknesses. To reflect upon Paul’s assertion, 1 Corinthians 13 is a description of godly Mercy.

1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophecies, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3And if I give out all my goods, and if I deliver my body that I be burned, but I do not have love, I am not profited anything. 4Love has patience, is kind; love is not envious; love is not vain, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave indecently, does not pursue its own things, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. 7 Love quietly covers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But if there are prophecies, they will be caused to cease; if tongues, they shall cease; if knowledge, it will be caused to cease. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect thing comes, then that which is in part will be caused to cease. 11When I was an infant, I spoke as an infant, I thought as an infant, I reasoned as an infant. But when I became a man, I caused to cease the things of the infant. 12For now we see through a mirror in dimness, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will fully know even as I also was fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love, these three things remain; but the greatest of these is love.

The greatest of these is Love. In these last days, God says that the love of man for mankind will grow cold. That is a most terrifying thought. We just think it's bad now. My dad used to have a morbid joke about the news: Let's get today's body count. That's cold.

    A cowboy rode into town and stopped at the saloon for a drink (root beer, of course!). Unfortunately, the locals always had a habit of picking on those of a British background, which he was. When he finished, he found his horse had been stolen. He came back into the bar, handily flipped his gun into the air, caught it above his head without even looking and fired a shot into the ceiling. "WHICH ONE OF YOU SIDEWINDERS STOLE MY HOSS?" he yelled with surprising forcefulness.


    Some of the locals shifted restlessly while he had another root beer, walked outside, and his horse was back! He saddled up and started to ride out of town. The bartender wandered out of the bar and asked, "Say partner, what happened in Texas?"

    The cowboy turned back and said, "I had to walk home..."

People suffused with the gift of mercy don't like confrontations for themselves, but become tigers when someone they love and care about is hurt, or hurting.

Persons with the gift of Compassion have the ability to feel atmosphere of joy or distress in a group of people. Most of the people with this gift do not recognize it as an attribute of Mercy and this ability will distress them.

They have a tendency to be attracted to people having emotional or physical distress. And the folks experiencing distress will develop a physical attraction to the Compassion person of the opposite sex because they misinterpret the attention. Mercy gifts have an ability to project themselves into another person’s problems. Their desire to remove hurts and bring healing generally prevents them from looking for benefits in the pain felt by the objects of their attention.

They have a greater concern for mental distress than physical distress because of their knowledge that inner feelings are of utmost importance. They will always reach out with love and caring to soothe and heal.

Compassion people are sensitive to words and actions so as not to hurt anyone and when hearing anything critical, they react to it. Their tendency to react harshly when intimate friends are rejected or hurt makes them a champion in causes. Their sense of loyalty causes them to feel another’s pain and this trait keeps the rest of us in touch with feelings as none of the other gifts can do.

They sense genuine love and have a greater vulnerability to a sense of lack of love. They are more easily hurt and more frequently hurt. Compassion people need to feel that “protective care” from their mate and will back off if hurt. They understand commitment and will give it unconditionally. They have a need for deep friendships with deep commitments and they have a need for genuine awareness of commitment.

They measure acceptance by physical closeness and quality time together. They will be attracted to other compassion people. This is the only gift that will be attracted to itself. All the other gifts seem to pair off with other gifts such as an Administrator with a Perceiver or Teacher…A Giver with an Exhorter etc.

Mercy people do not like confrontations, as illustrated above. They will avoid firmness with a person in counseling until they are made to see the benefit to that person. Mercy people must realize they need to temper their gift with wisdom. We must not interfere with God when someone is in the middle of being broken…we might prolong or even hinder the process instead of helping it along.

Compassion gifts have a great ability to detect insincerity immediately and will close relationships or reject those displaying insincerity and insensitivity. Although, they are quick forgivers because they understand hurts. Sometimes, they confuse sympathy with empathy.

Characteristics Of The Gift Of Mercy

Luke 10:25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, testing Him and saying, Teacher, What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 26 And He said to him, What has been written in the Law? How do you read it? 27 And answering, he said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength," and with all your mind, and "your neighbor as yourself." (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18) 28 And He said to him, You have answered rightly; do this, and you shall live. 29 But desiring to justify himself, he said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor? 30 And taking it up, Jesus said, A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell in with plunderers, who both stripping him and laying on blows, went away, leaving him being half dead. 31But by a coincidence, a certain priest was going on that road; and seeing him, he passed on the opposite side. 32And in the same way, a Levite, also being at the place, coming and seeing him, he passed on the opposite side. 33But a certain traveling Samaritan came upon him, and seeing him, he was filled with pity. 34And coming near, he bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. And putting him on his own animal, he brought him to an inn and cared for him. 35 And going forth on the morrow, taking out two denarii, he gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, Care for him, and whatever more you spend, on my return I will repay to you. 36 Who, then, of these three seems to you to have become a neighbor to the one having fallen among the plunderers? 37 And he said, The one doing the deed of mercy with him. Then Jesus said to him, Go, and you do likewise.

This story is so deep and has so many lessons, but we're going to look at the lessons which point to the gift of mercy. Some of the characteristics of this gift are implied here, others are spelled out. We'll see if we can find them all.

1. Has tremendous capacity to show love.

The Samaritan didn't care if this man was Jew, Gentile or Samaritan. His actions showed that he cared he was a human being in dire need. God says that the love of man will grow cold in these last days. The Gift of Mercy is greatly needed.

There was a study done in Chicago in which a person dressed up like a homeless man (stinky clothes and all), lay down on the side walk next to a building and moaned softly and at time loudly. The "test subjects" (those people who were asked to participate in an experiment but were not told what the experiment was only that they needed to prepare a speech and give it to a class at a certain time. On purpose, some of the subjects were delayed while others were given plenty of time to get to the class early. Every one of the subjects had to pass this man moaning on the sidewalk. Out of the 37 subjects, only 5 stopped to give aid. One of them was late and the other 4 were on time. I am certain those 5 people had a huge dose of the Gift of Mercy.

2. Always looks for good in people.

The Samaritan did not wait to find out if the man was of good character or not. He just helped. Often times a Mercy person will bend over backwards to give the benefit of doubt to anyone they come in contact with. The grumpy person is "just having a bad day"; the rude person is "just in a hurry". This person will be courtious to a fault until they perceive someone else is being stomped on, then all the fangs and claws come out in defense of that person.

3. Senses the Spiritual and emotional atmosphere in a group or individual.

The person with the Gift of Mercy predominant will understand this trait without explanation. The Mercy person can sense emotions quite accurately. This gift will surface as the dominant gift when the Christian has just suffered something tragic such as the death of a spouse or divorce or some unusually tough times with the kids. I believe that God gives us this during the time of grief so that we will not be focused on our own problems but will become "distracted" by the problems of others. It is a coping mechanism.

4. Is attracted to people who are hurting or in distress. Just like the Good Samaritan was.

5. Takes action to remove hurts and relieve distress in others.

Can you see each of these qualities in the passage above? For the rest of the Gift of Compassion or Mercy, click on Day 3, Day 4, and Problems with the Gift As always, you can order a book online: Katy and Don Fortune