June 2, 2024

Mercy – An Attribute of God

Written by Pat Elsberry

Mercy is when God gives you what you need, not what you deserve.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 2, 2024

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love. Psalm 51:1

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve had the privilege of meeting weekly with a beautiful group of women as we studied God’s attributes. Tozer has written two meaty books on the subject. I had the opportunity to speak on the attribute of Mercy and wanted to share some of what I learned with you. 

Have you ever wondered about the difference between grace and Mercy? This question often sparks intriguing conversations. Today, let’s delve into the concept of Mercy and explore its profound implications for our lives. 

~ Mercy is when God gives you what you need, not what you deserve. 

~ Mercy is when God knows every mistake you’ve made and will ever make, yet he still gives you every good thing in your life.

~ Mercy means doing good to those who hurt you.

~ Mercy is giving people what they need, not deserve, because that’s what God does with us!

~ God’s Mercy is so closely aligned with forgiveness. And His Mercy is what keeps us going when we feel hopeless, worn down, or discouraged. 

If we look back at a couple of stories in the Bible, we can see how God has been extending Mercy to His people from the beginning of time. What did God do when the Israelites were grumbling and complaining about not having food? He blessed them with what they needed, not what they deserved. God told Moses, “I will give them meat at twilight and bread in the morning, then you will know that I am God” (Exodus 16:12). In the New Testament God showed such great Mercy to Saul, a man who was responsible for the death of many Christians. He learned a great lesson when he was on the road to Damascus. Jesus didn’t hold Saul’s unmerciful acts against his people over his head. Jesus had more significant plans for him as he was God’s chosen instrument to proclaim his name to the Gentiles, their kings, and the people of Israel (Acts 9). Jesus gave Paul not what he deserved but what he needed – because he needed Jesus, too. 

Our son, Cameron, has developed a keen interest in golf over the past year. As a supportive mother, I’ve also been learning more about the game. Recently, we watched a movie called The Mulligan. A mulligan is essentially a do-over, and in the movie, this golf term was used as a metaphor for a man’s journey to find his way back to Jesus. This got me thinking, isn’t a mulligan just like God’s Mercy on us? It’s a chance for a do-over, to give us what we need, not based on what we actually deserve. This personal connection to the concept of Mercy makes it all the more relatable and engaging. 

When we approach the Lord, we aren’t met with someone waiting to punish us for every misstep. The Bible teaches that God’s essential nature and character is Mercy. Mercy is not just something God does, it is who He is. It is His very essence, and how comforting it is to know that our Heavenly Father is full of Mercy for His children. This reassurance of God’s Mercy as a defining attribute brings us comfort and peace. 

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy” (Psalm 103:8).


Father, thank you for your mercy and for seeing us for who we are, warts and all. We are so grateful that your mercies are new every morning and we can come to you for forgiveness and know we will always be loved.


Just as our Heavenly Father has given to us what we need and not what we deserve, if there is someone you need to extend mercy and forgiveness to today reach out to them with the same loving kindness extended to you.

Related Reading

Psalm 119:64; Psalm 145:8; Ephesians 2:4

Worship Resource

Casting Crowns: All Because of Mercy


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