We live in a world full of people who have bought in to bad doctrine. People who bring serious harm to their health, relationships, and finances as they follow worldly wisdom instead of sound biblical principles.
When we witness this kind of behavior, we often find ourselves eager to respond with truth. We feel compelled to explain to these co-workers, relatives, or Facebook friends how they’re wrong and what changes they should make.
The church has been engaging in this strategy faithfully for hundreds of years, yet research shows the majority of churches are in a state of decline. Maybe it’s time for a different approach.
Jesus preached truth, but He did it in a context of mercy. Here are three reasons why I believe mercy should be our first response when we see people who are hurting.
1. Mercy empowers people to receive truth.
As the psychologist Abraham Maslow pointed out, when we’re busy worrying about immediate problems like food, shelter or sickness, we’re less able to focus on deeper issues. Mercy creates a womb of protection where people can experience safety and restoration. As their physical or emotional needs are met, their hearts become ready to receive truth.
2. Mercy demonstrates the power of our truth.
In a world where truth is seen as relative, what makes ours better than anyone else’s? Jesus said His disciples would be known by their love, and mercy is a beautiful example of love. When we prove we’re different through our mercy, we become testimonies of a truth worth listening to.
3. Mercy shows we can be trusted.
When someone is trying to sell us something, be it a belief system or a Buick, our first thought is, “Does this person have my best interests at heart?” In a world of scammers, that’s a reasonable question, and when we lead with mercy, we dispel all doubt.
Again, leading with mercy isn’t my idea. It’s Jesus’ idea, modeled through His earthly ministry. We are called to “speak truth in love.”
If you’d like to learn a 4-step framework for how you can share truth marinated in mercy, check out my new book The God Impulse, which has already sold over 10,000 copies.
All mercy no truth and you’re an enabler. All truth no mercy and no one will want to be around you. But when you put the two together, you have a recipe for impact.
Let’s be impactful.