Have you ever had a hard time forgiving someone who hurt you? You continue to bring up what they did to you, even though you said you forgave them. The hurt is hard to let go.
Although you may struggle to forgive, you need to remember God’s example. He shows you great mercy because he loves you. There are many examples of mercy in the Bible that can help you to see the depth and extent of this love for you. When you know this, you can in turn show mercy to others—even when you were greatly hurt by them—and let go of your hurt in the process.
Types of Mercy in the Bible
As you read the Bible, you can see that there are different types of mercy described.
One of them demonstrates that God’s mercy is not conditional on what you do or don’t do. There are no rules in it. It’s given to you at times as a gift… just because of his love for you as his child.
Another kind of mercy is extended to you when you repent. When you choose to turn away from sin, it produces heart transformation within you. Your willingness to admit your wrongdoing before God shows your love to him. He wants you to repent.
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13, NIV)
Repentance brings you into greater freedom to stop the sin, turning from it, which is necessary because sin equals death. It allows you to become more humble, draws you closer to God, and grows you to be more dependent on him by acknowledging you need his mercy. This is when God can do great work within you to transform you to be more like him.
These two types can be seen in several stories of mercy in the Bible.
Who Did God Show Mercy to in the Bible?
God shows mercy because he is merciful.
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Psalm 103:8, ESV)
You can be thankful for his mercy every day because you need it daily. You can witness the depth of his mercy when you see how he showed mercy to those in the Bible. His mercy is a powerful aspect of his love.
In the Bible, God showed mercy to Adam and Eve, Moses, David, Paul, Zaccheus, and others. This demonstrates who God is and that he loves his children so much, despite their sin.
You may ask, does God show mercy to everyone? His mercy is a gift to his children. As his child you have received it by having a relationship with God.
Examples of Mercy in the Bible
God’s mercy toward you is truly vast. Reading and studying the stories of God showing mercy in the Bible can help you really internalize the depth of his mercy. It doesn’t matter what you did, he will forgive you. Ask him for forgiveness.
As you keep reading, you will find 4 examples of mercy in the Bible that will demonstrate the two types of mercy mentioned above. It will help you know his love for you more deeply and see the power of repentance for your own heart, too. This will give you the ability to show mercy to others.
1. The Ninevites
The Ninevites were people who greatly sinned against God. God hated their sin and sent Jonah to help them turn from their wrongdoings. This was showing them great mercy for their sin against him.
They didn’t do anything to deserve this mercy but God loved them so much. In the book of Jonah, you can see God’s heart for these people, even when Jonah didn’t think they deserved his mercy.
“And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:11, NIV)
In your own life, you don’t need to question why you should show mercy—just think about the depth of the mercy God shows you. This can help you show mercy to someone even when you don’t think they deserve it or don’t understand why you should give it to them.
God showed mercy to David many times. David desired his mercy, too. You can see this after his betrayal with Bathsheba when he goes to God repenting of his sin.
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:1-2, NIV)
This heart posture is one that pleases God, and so God had mercy on David. His repentance shows his heart of love and reverence towards God, to admit he wronged God above it all.
Your repentance means a great deal to God. And when you don’t forgive someone, it’s not just against them but against God because he calls you to love others. It’s the greatest commandment.
3. The Prodigal Son
The story of the prodigal son is another example of repentance to receive mercy from God and its power to change you.
In the parable, there were two sons. One son—the younger one—chooses to go away from his father because of his own selfishness. He takes his inheritance to live as he pleases, while the older son faithfully stays with his father.
When the younger son runs out of money, he realizes his foolishness and returns home expressing his great sorrow for his mistake.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’” (Luke 15:21, NIV)
The father forgives him and celebrates his return. His repentance changed his heart and humbled him before God and his father. This shows that when someone hurts you, you can forgive them and embrace them with great love. Mercy can be shown and someone’s heart can change through repentance to admit their mistakes, too.
4. The Crucifixion Story
God’s greatest act of mercy to you was sending his son Jesus to die on the cross for you. This is one of the many examples of Jesus showing mercy in the Bible. When he was dying on the cross, he didn’t hold a grudge but he asked the Father to show his torturers mercy.
“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” (Luke 23:34, NIV)
This showed his extraordinary mercy toward mankind. He was enduring the most horrific pain that he didn’t deserve because he is perfect; yet he asked for those causing him pain to be forgiven. This example enables you to do the same for others and see the magnitude of God’s mercy.
God’s mercy for you is vast. You can see this through the many examples of mercy in the Bible.
I hope these 4 examples can help you know God’s mercy for yourself. It will allow you to know his love more, helping you to love yourself, and love others, too. You can forgive someone who hurt you and show them mercy as he shows it to you daily.
Hi, I'm Nikki
My goal is to help and equip Christian women like you to live for Jesus by following Matthew 22:37-39: to love God, to love yourself, and to love others.