In a world that often prioritizes power and wealth, it’s inspiring to see profound acts of compassion and kindness triumph. The Bible is filled with examples of mercy, showcasing how Old and New Testaments highlight the beauty of empathy and forgiveness.
Through these tales, we can learn how to be more compassionate towards others and ourselves. Let’s explore 10 examples of mercy from the Bible that will surely leave an impact on you.
The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
Perhaps the most well-known example of showing mercy in the Bible comes from the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this story, Jesus tells of a man who was beaten and robbed, left on the side of the road to die.
Despite the cultural enmities between Jews and Samaritans, a Samaritan man stopped to help the wounded man.
“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.” – Luke 10:33-34
The Samaritan not only cared for the man’s physical wounds, but went above and beyond by providing him with a place to stay and paying for his expenses. The Good Samaritan’s actions serve as a reminder to show compassion and kindness to all, regardless of cultural or societal boundaries.
Boaz and Ruth (Book of Ruth)
In the Book of Ruth, Boaz, a wealthy landowner, showed mercy towards Ruth, a Moabite widow who had come to Israel with her mother-in-law Naomi. As a foreigner, Ruth faced many challenges in Israel; however, Boaz welcomed her and allowed her to glean in his fields, ensuring she had enough food to survive.
Boaz’s compassion towards Ruth did not end there. He went above and beyond by instructing his workers to leave extra grain for her to collect, showing kindness and generosity to a stranger in need.
Ruth was not only a stranger in Israel but also a widow with no male protector to provide for her. When Naomi learned that Boaz was a close relative who could redeem Ruth, she urged her to seek his protection and care.
Boaz agreed to take Ruth as his wife, showing redemption and restoration through marriage, and proving that showing mercy and compassion can lead to blessings beyond measure.
Joseph and His Brothers (Genesis 45)
Joseph’s story is one of forgiveness and showing mercy despite being sold into slavery by his own brothers. After years of hardship, Joseph rose to a position of power in Egypt, and when his brothers came begging for food during a famine, he forgave them and provided for their families.
This act of mercy exemplifies the power of forgiveness and unconditional love. Instead of seeking revenge, Joseph chose to extend kindness and care, proving that the bonds of family and compassion can overcome even the deepest of wounds.
The Table below compares Joseph’s journey to forgiveness.
|Reaction of Joseph’s brothers
|Reactions of Joseph
|Plot to Kill Him
|Sell him into slavery
|Forgive them and provide for their families in time of famine
|Faith in God and Faithful Service
|Revealing Himself to His Brothers
|Surprised and feared
|Welcomed them and shared his success with them.
“I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” – Joseph to his brothers, Genesis 45:4-5
Joseph’s story serves as an inspiring example of forgiveness and compassion, showing us that even in the midst of great hardship and betrayal, we can still choose to extend mercy and kindness to those who have wronged us.
King Solomon’s Judgment (1 Kings 3:16-28)
King Solomon, renowned for his wisdom and justness, faced a perplexing case where two mothers were claiming the same baby as their own.
Instead of dividing the baby in half, Solomon showed mercy by ruling that the child should be spared and returned to the true mother. This decision showcased Solomon’s great wisdom and compassion, as he sought to spare the child’s life and ensure justice was served.
|Claimed the living baby was hers
|Claimed the living baby was hers
|The child should be spared and given to the true mother
This act of mercy not only spared the child’s life but also revealed the true mother’s love for her child, showcasing the power of compassion and a wise judgment in resolving complex disputes. Through this tale, we are reminded of the importance of mercy and understanding in our relationships with others.
The Hebrew Midwives in Egypt (Exodus 1:15-21)
The story of Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives, is one of bravery and compassion. In defiance of Pharaoh’s orders to kill all Hebrew baby boys, Shiphrah and Puah showed mercy by allowing the infants to live, fearing and respecting God’s authority above Pharaoh’s.
As a result, God blessed them with their own “houses”, therefore their distinct family tree within Israel. This profound act of compassion stands as a testament to the enduring power of showing mercy, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
To quote the Bible:
“Because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.” – Exodus 1:21 (NIV)
Shiphrah and Puah’s brave defiance of Pharaoh’s authority illustrates the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity. Their fear of God rather than Pharaoh demonstrates their unwavering moral compass that shows mercy and compassion towards the defenseless.
Obadiah and the Prophets (1 Kings 18)
During a time of persecution, Obadiah, a servant of King Ahab, showed incredible mercy by protecting and feeding 100 prophets of the Lord. Despite risking his own life, Obadiah ensured that those following God were safe and cared for, demonstrating true compassion and selflessness.
Amidst the fear and danger of persecution, Obadiah’s courage and kindness triumphed, proving that in even the darkest of times, there is always room for mercy and compassion.
By providing for those in need, even in the face of danger, Obadiah exemplified the profound acts of kindness that are found throughout the Bible.
King Saul and David (1 Samuel 24)
In this section of the Bible, King Saul had been pursuing David, seeking to kill him and erase him from the throne. However, in a surprising turn of events, David had the opportunity to kill Saul while he was vulnerable in a cave.
Though it may have seemed like an opportunity for revenge, David chose to spare Saul’s life and only cut off a corner of his cloak.
After Saul had left the cave, David followed him out and called out to him, showing respect and acknowledging Saul’s position as king. David then held up the piece of cloth, demonstrating that he had spared Saul’s life and had no intention of taking his throne through violent means.
Although King Saul had been merciless towards David in the past, he was moved by David’s mercy and kindness towards him. Saul realized the error of his ways and even acknowledged his wrongdoing, asking David to spare his own life when he eventually became king.
This moment highlights the power of forgiveness and the transformative nature of extending mercy towards others, even in the most challenging of circumstances.
Elisha and the Syrian Army
During a brutal conflict, the prophet Elisha showed remarkable compassion towards the enemy when he persuaded the king of Israel not to kill the blinded Syrian army but to feed them and send them back to their master.
By demonstrating mercy, Elisha understood that killing the enemy would only foster more violence and death. This powerful act of kindness highlights the importance of showing empathy and understanding even in the face of conflict.
Elisha’s Wise Persuasion
When the king of Syria learned that Elisha was passing information to the king of Israel, he sent an army to capture Elisha. The Syrian army found Elisha in the city of Dothan, where he prayed that God would blind the enemy soldiers. Once the Syrian army was sightless, Elisha could have easily killed them.
However, instead of resorting to violence, he showed mercy and positivity by persuading the king of Israel to feed and tend to them before sending them safely back home.
The Power of Compassion and Mercy
Elisha’s response to the blinded Syrian army showcases the power of compassion and mercy, even during times of conflict. It reminded both sides that forgiveness and kindness are crucial when tension and suffering prevail. Elisha’s behavior encouraged everyone to seek a peaceful resolution instead of violence.
The Widow of Zarephath
During a severe famine, the Widow of Zarephath showed mercy by sharing her last meal with the prophet Elijah, who had come to her asking for food. Despite her own dire situation, she recognized the need of another and chose to extend kindness and compassion.
Her act of showing mercy not only helped Elijah but ultimately led to a miracle, as her jar of flour and jug of oil did not run out until the famine ended, fulfilling God’s promise to take care of her.
This story reminds us of the power of showing mercy and trusting in God’s promise, even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
So, when faced with challenges, follow the example of the Widow of Zarephath and show mercy, sharing what you have with others and trusting that God will provide for your needs.