"HAVE MERCY ON ME, O LORD”
By Wayne S. Walker
"Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled" (Psalm 6:2). Our English word "mercy," which comes from a Latin root that means "payment" or "reward," is defined as, "1. a refraining from harming or punishing offenders, enemies, etc.; kindness in excess of what may be expected. 2. a disposition to forgive or be kind. 3. the power to forgive or be kind; clemency. 4. kind or compassionate treatment. 5. a fortunate thing; blessing." The God who created us and whom Christians serve is a merciful God. Yes, He hates sin and will punish it, but He is also "merciful and gracious….He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins…." (Psalm 103:8-10). If God dealt with us only according to our sins, that would be justice.
However, if we call upon Him and meet His conditions, He will be merciful. The reason why we need His mercy is that we are weak. As a result of our weakness, we sometimes yield to temptation in which lust gives birth to sin which brings forth death (James 1:14-15). Yet, God is merciful and offers forgiveness for our sins. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Also, knowing that we are week, He mercifully offers us help to overcome our temptations, if we put our trust in Him. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Thus, as a result of God’s mercy offered to us, we can be healed even though our souls have been afflicted with the spiritual disease of sin. Yet, just as with the need for physical healing, we usually must go to a physician and follow his directions, so for Him to heal us spiritually, we must turn to Him and do His will. "For the hearts of this people have grown dull, their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them" (Matthew 13:15). Jesus wants to heal us, but we must hear His word, see His way, and understand His will in order to receive God’s mercy.