What is the difference between mercy and compassion?
Mercy is the compassionate treatment of those in distress.
Mercy is the fruit of compassion. It’s the gift given to the suffering by those living out their compassion.
In the New Testament, Jesus is often moved to mercy through compassion.
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Mathew 14:14
So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. Mathew 18:26-27
As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Luke 7:12-13
“Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ . . . Jesus stopped and called them. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked. ‘Lord,’ they answered, ‘we want our sight.’ Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” — Matthew 20:30-34, NIV
Jesus’ compassion prompts Him to act and He mercifully loves, heals and rescues.
Jesus’ very presence in the world is the ultimate act of compassion. We did not deserve His sacrifice, but because of God’s great love, we were treated with mercy and are called to live lives of compassion and mercy.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” — Ephesians 4:32, NIVFinally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. – I Peter 3:8-9