THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FORGIVENESS AND MERCY
–By Mary A. LaClair
Is there a difference between forgiveness and mercy; and if so, what is it?
This is a question I asked of my Lord while walking out in the country one day.
This is the example He gave to me:
If a teen aged boy or rebellious young adult, parties in his father’s garage with friends of his type or is a good son otherwise careless repairing something, and the garage burns down, the father may forgive the boy because he is his son.
He never cuts off relationship with him and he doesn’t stop loving him. The father may (or should) say: “You rebuild the garage.”
The son is forgiven by an understanding compassionate father, yet there will still be consequences. The son gets the materials and starts rebuilding the garage. The father loves him and keeps him in the family and as the son rebuilds, he even brings him lunch.
Forgiveness has been given.
Mercy comes in however when, seeing the son’s efforts, the father digs in and works alongside of him actually helping the son as he rebuilds the garage. This is mercy, aside and apart from forgiveness.
Thus was I shown the difference between forgiveness and mercy.
1 Peter 1:17
“You call out to God for help and he helps — he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.”
(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)
2 Cor 1:3-5
“Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God from whom all help comes! 4 He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God.” GNT (Good News Translation)
” To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;…” KJV