The last gift is the gift of Mercy. It is the most complicated of all the gifts, of exquisite design, since the mercy feels the heart of God. It is beautfiul to both feel compassion and mercy, and to carry it, but it can be extremely difficult.
Remember how David was a man after God's own heart? That is because, David was a mercy. It was his desire to know God, to be with Him, and to worship him. It was in that place of intimacy that David wrote the Psalms, and each of us has experienced the timelessness of the emotion and the passion that he put into those verses. Most Christians have used the Psalms for comfort and healing in times when their hearts needed to find words to express emotions to God. And yet, look at David's life. His affair with Bathsheba was costly, but he was able to come back into alignment with God. His fathering before Solomon was minimal, and it cost him Absalom and the treachery that followed. Mighty men who were outcasts and misfits gravitated to his side and to his leadership. He is a study in complexity.
1. A mercy navigates life with his heart. She or he is extremely sensitive and compassionate, and he feels deeply. Although David was a child when the prophet came to anoint a king, there is a sense that something about his nature led the others to believe that he would never be a ruler.
2. He feels pain intensely, so intensely that he may hide from pain and seek to avoid it or people who cause it. He may feel he is "not like other people," who seem to be on a different wave length. In reality, he isn't. He is guided by the desire to make others feel safe and protected, and his own need for intimacy with people and with God. The beauty of this gift is to be in alignment with the heart of God and to bring others into alignment. But those around him or her may think he is too sensitive, too emotional. Parenting, for the mercy child, is difficult for the parent even if he understands how sensitive the child is and tries to protect, or is not appreciative of it and sees it as weakness. The child may grow up trying to hide his nature because he is ashamed of who he is especially in cultures where male sensitivity is not appreciated. Or if the parent has worked hard to protect the sensitivites, he may not have learned how to cope or handle situations on his own.
3. A mercy processes more slowly than all the other gifts. It often takes a long time to let go of the emotions of the past, and to adjust to new ones because he is gradually working through feelings in the process. He is not done processing until his emotions have caught up with his actions.
4. A mercy feels safe to other people. They don't want their own feelings hurt or anyone else's, so they tend to be safe. They are highly sensitive to unsafe people and don't like to associate with them.
5. A mercy craves intimacy. A mercy likes to go deep, not wide, and will usually have only one or two close friends.
5. A mercy may love music and the arts. They were made to be a conduit of God's presence and compassion, and often become worship leaders or song writers or musicans. Music can be the language of passion and love and their depth will touch the listener. They are often artistic and creative. Listening to the words or music of a mercy writer or singer will touch his audience in a deep way.
6. A mercy in his desire for intimacy can make his or her battle for purity harder. He is by nature affectionate, and his sensitivity makes him vulnerable.
7. A mercy hates confrontation. A typical mercy will turn the other cheek so often that eventually it may end in a very messy confrontation, since the mercy has let it go for so long. Or it might result in his closing the door on the relationship. He or she may tend to fear his or her own emotions, not wanting to get hurt, and not want to hurt others. Often their communication skills need to be honed. The fear of not hurting others and not being hurt, can make communication difficult.
8. A mercy is very protective of loved ones and can take up their offenses. Trying to protect those he loves can become exhausting or limiting. His willingness to take up offense on behalf of another can blind him.
9. A mercy may become so burdened by others that he retreats and uses pain avoidance to protect himself. This is not God's intent, but that he be able to rid himself of pain in worship and intercession and continue to show mercy. Because of pain, a mercy can withdraw and become self absorbed, unable or unwilling to risk love, or very selective about whom he is willing to relate to.
10. A mercy is often dreamy and introspective. He often sees his response to a situation or his sense of the emotions around him as paramount. In other words, he is subjective rather than objective. As a mercy matures he can become highly functioning in the world and very skilled at organization or even management. But his style is different. He will be concerned with the needs of his employees and seek to align his team, not as a task master without compassion.
11. A mercy is meant to be a peacemaker and he can bring alignment with his presence. He is safe for most everyone, and creates a safe enviornment.
12. A mercy usually is well liked without enemies, because he is kind and considerate and cautious.
13. A mercy can be content with being rather than doing. In the garden, in the beginning, the first man God created was a mercy. His job was to be in the garden and to rest in God's love and provision. The last feast of Israel is the Feast of Tabernacles which corresponds to the mercy gift: when God tabernacles with His people. This presence will draw men unto Him. It is not about buliding or our achievements, but about His dwellng among us, returning us to a sense of being and intimacy that was present in the Garden. This is the beauty of the mercy gift.
For a mercy to be what God intended he must find a way to process his own pain with the Father so that he can remain vulnerable to the pain of the world and the presence of the Father. Pain can cause him to shut the channel he is meant to open between himself and God and God and others.
Vulnerability is costly, but without it he can only choose seclusion or denial. The last thing Jesus said on the Cross was "Father, into thy hands I commit my Spirit." That was the cry of the last redemptive gift, the gift of mercy. God had allowed Jesus to suffer, and yet Jesus had to trust God to take what was left, the Spirit, and keep him safe, even in death. That is hard to comprehend, and yet that is what the mercy is asked to do. To feel pain most deeply but to endure it, and maybe even choose it, if he is asked, for the joy set before him. Jesus's decision to accept the cross and endure it, brought to us God's living presence, the Spirit, within.