- Do you struggle to know whether to show mercy or not?
- Do you ever feel like a doormat? Why do you think that happens?
Mercy at work
- Can you think of situations at your work where showing mercy would be unwise?
- What would it take to transform those into situations where mercy could be wise?
- How can you work towards that? What would it cost you?
Mercy at church
- Do you work in the church?
- How do you respond when you encounter people who require mercy?
- Do you ever tire of helping people who only learn or change slowly?
- How does your church relate to people who are poor or needy in the neighbourhood of the church?
- What would be the cost to the church?
Mercy in healthcare
- Do you work in healthcare?
- Beyond basic medical needs, what kind of things would help the people in your care?
- What would be the cost to you of providing that?
Jonah (representative of the prophets)
It’s fascinating that Jonah ran away from God’s calling to Ninevah, not because he thought he’d be unsuccessful, and not because he thought it was dangerous – but because he didn’t want God to be merciful to them. Jonah 4 sees the interaction between the prophet and God over this issue.
Although the disposition of the prophets varied, God was consistent with His willingness to show mercy. You could read through any book of the prophets, or through a historical record like 1&2 Kings and look for the times that God calls for repentance, and what happens on the rare occasion that people actually responded.
- What does this tell you about God?
- What does it tell you about mercy?
- Do you ever feel like Jonah?
The parable of the unmerciful servant
- Read Matthew 18:21-35. Are there times when you’ve felt like the servant who owed a lot – forgiven, but reluctant to forgive?
- Are there times when you’ve felt like the servant who’s owed a little – not shown mercy by those who have themselves received it?
- How do you relate to God at those times?