Recently I took a spiritual gifts test. Regardless of what you may think of tools like this they do offer helpful personal insight. Anyhow… I took this test and scored ridiculously low on “mercy.” In other words, this test said that I’m not a very merciful person. Unfortunately, my experience and the experiences of those around me too often confirm this finding.
I used to think it was cool to be “low in mercy.” In fact I’d hear leaders, even some pastors say, in an almost proud manner, “I don’t have the gift of mercy,” and then they’d sit back, poke their chest out, and flare up like a male peacock. I started thinking, “Hmmmm… a mercy deficit must be a component of good leadership.” I’m an idiot.
A couple of years ago I started thinking about that proposition and realized, “Uhhhh, wasn’t Jesus merciful? Wasn’t Jesus a great leader?” (The answer is “yes” to both of these questions).
And then I read this verse, “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7). (If you want to check out more verses about mercy click here).
I used to think a mercy deficit was cool. Now I think it’s stupid.
I used to think being almost mean was what it took to be a good leader. Now I’m not so sure.
Sure, sure… I know that as leaders we have to lead strongly from the vision God has given us. I know that there are plenty of times we will need to have straightforward conversations with difficult people. I know that we must lead with fortitude and strength. I know this, have done it, and will do it again…
BUT, what about mercy? If Jesus modeled it and still accomplished all that He has accomplished, shouldn’t I reconsider my thinking about the place of mercy in the leadership toolbox?
So these days I’m not so proud about my lack of mercy. In fact, I’m repenting for my mercy deficit and asking God to pour mercy in and through me so that everyone I come in contact with will experience the mercy of God through little old me.