Have Mercy!

HaveMercyFirst off, I get a negative score on the spiritual gift of mercy with every spiritual gift test I take. Note, it’s not that I get a low score, I get a negative score. If you are reading this and wondering what in the world a spiritual gift is, allow me to explain. You are given a spiritual gift the moment you accept Christ as your Savior. The primary purpose of spiritual gifts is to serve and edify one another (1 Cor. 12:7). Your spiritual gift is the primary way God uses you to minister to others.

There are several different lists of spiritual gifts in the New Testament but for the purpose of this blog we are going to focus on what our Pastor terms “Motivational Gifts” found in Romans 12. Those with the spiritual gift of mercy might find they often attract people who are in crisis or experiencing loss. Those with the spiritual gift of service might find great fulfillment in bringing the food for Sunday school. Those with the spiritual gift of prophecy find it very difficult not to confront sin in another’s life.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served.  I Corinthians 12:4-5

If you are wondering if God wants to use you, has gifted you, or has a ministry for you, the answer is yes!  Dr. Robert Jeffress teaches that we as Christians will never feel truly fulfilled until we discover our spiritual gift.  Knowing your spiritual gift allows you to understand how God specifically wants to use you in His Kingdom.  The more I learned about spiritual gifts, the more I realized how lacking I was in certain areas. Here is the caveat about spiritual gifts.  Regardless of discovering your primary gift in Romans 12, we are all supposed to practice all of the gifts.  Putting it plainly, my negative mercy score just won’t cut it in God’s eyes.  Figuring out your spiritual gift is exciting but it is not a free pass on the other gifts.

I am finishing what I consider to be about a 3-year boot camp on mercy.  For the past 3 years I have been counseling women and girls who have experienced intense sexual abuse and trauma.  Some of these stories would cause me to have nightmares. Some of the stories were so difficult to hear I thought I would have to leave the room.  I remember hearing a story so evil that I felt nauseas afterwards.  Through this journey, I have found 3 tips to being merciful.

  1. Remember, we are all just 3 wrong decisions away from being in that person’s situation.
  1. Remember, it is only by God’s grace and mercy that we did not have the same parents, spouse, abuse, neglect, poverty level, trauma, etc.
  1. Recall that one sin that you would be horrified if it were shown on a movie theater to all your closest friends and family.  This is not to shame you or cause you to dwell on the past.  This serves to remind you of how God has been gracious and merciful to you in an effort to show mercy to others.

I can confidently say, your mercy score can change!  But of course, that is only by God’s mercy!

About the Writer:
Julia is the Girl’s Ministry Director at First Baptist Dallas. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who trained at the world-renowned Meier Clinics.  Julia is a professional speaker for Just Say Yes, speaking nationwide on the topics of suicide, depression, self-harm, and eating disorders. Julia is passionate about her three favorite topics theology, psychology, and ryanology. She has been married to her junior high sweetheart, Ryan, for eight years and loves ministering to teenagers alongside her best friend and favorite boss. Julia has a heart to see people experience the same freedom through Christ that she has experienced!

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