Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

May 21, 1902

Mercy

God's love for the fallen race is a peculiar manifestation of love,—a love born of mercy; for human beings are all undeserving. Mercy implies the imperfection of the object toward which it is shown. It was because of sin that mercy was brought into active exercise.

Sin is not the object of God's love, but of His hatred. But He loves and pities the sinner. The erring sons and daughters of Adam are the children of His redemption. Through the gift of His Son He has revealed toward them His infinite love and mercy. He “so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Receiving that We May Give

“Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Mercy is an attribute that the human agent may share with God. As did Christ, so man may lay hold on the divine arm and be in communication with divine power. To us has been given a service of mercy to perform for our fellow-man. In performing this service, we are laboring together with God. We do well, then, to be merciful, even as our Father in heaven is merciful.

“I will have mercy,” God says, “and not sacrifice.” Mercy is kind, pitiful. Mercy and the love of God purify the soul, beautify the heart, and cleanse the life from selfishness. Mercy is a manifestation of divine love, and is shown by those who, identified with God, serve Him by reflecting the light of heaven upon the pathway of their fellow-creatures.

The condition of many persons calls for the exercise of genuine mercy. Christians, in their dealing with one another, are to be controlled by principles of mercy and love. They are to improve every opportunity for helping fellow-beings in distress. The duty of every Christian is plainly outlined in the words: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.” “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” These are the principles that we shall do well to cherish.

We Receive Mercy as We Bestow Mercy

Let those who desire to perfect a Christlike character ever keep in view the cross on which Christ died a cruel death in order to redeem mankind. Let them ever cherish the same merciful spirit that led the Saviour to make an infinite sacrifice for our redemption. Let not those who themselves have sinned against God, refuse to forgive a repentant sinner. Just as they deal with a fellow-being who is in spirit or in action has done wrong and has afterward repented, so God will deal with them for their defects of character. He who does not show mercy to his fellow-men can not expect to be shielded by the mercy of God. He himself is dependent on the mercy that God has enjoined him to exercise in seeking to restore every unsaved soul brought within the sphere of his influence. If he refuses to cultivate this divine grace, he himself will suffer the result of his neglect. Sometime, when he is in need of the mercy of God and of his fellow-men, he will find himself beyond mercy.

The attributes of mercy and love are nearly lost from the hearts of many, many members of the church. We should remember that all make mistakes: even men and women who have had years of experience sometimes err; but God does not cast them off because of their errors; to every erring son and daughter of Adam He gives the privilege of another trial. The true follower of Jesus manifests a Christlike spirit toward his erring brother. Instead of speaking in condemnation, he remembers the words, “He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”

The Need and Effect of Mercy

In the church militant, men will be ever in need of restoration from the results of sin. The one who in some respects is superior to another is in other respects inferior to him. Every human being is subject to temptation, and in need of brotherly interest and sympathy. The exercise of mercy in our daily relations with one another is one of the most effective means of attaining perfection of character; for only those who walk with Christ can be truly merciful.

The merciful “shall obtain mercy.” “The liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” There is sweet peace for the compassionate spirit, a blessed satisfaction in the life of self-forgetful service for the good of others.

He who was given his life to God in ministry to His children, is linked with Him who has all the resources of the universe at His command. By the golden chain of the immutable promises his life is bound up with the life of God. The Lord will not fail him in the hour of suffering and need. “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” And in the hour of final need the merciful shall find refuge in the mercy of the compassionate Saviour, and by Him shall be received into everlasting habitations.

Mrs. E. G. White

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