<- Back


17 The merciful man does good for his own soul, 
But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh. 


The title of our devotional today is in no way misleading. Our challenge is we are accustomed to a different thought process in terms of being good to ourselves.   

When we think of being good to ourselves, it is usually in the context of a day at the spa or a weekend getaway. Being good to yourself can also include developing healthy habits and shedding toxic relationships.   

All of the things I have listed can certainly be of help, but today's proverb offers a different perspective.   

Showing mercy to others, according to the scripture, is a way to be good to your own soul. Showing mercy has a positive impact on our inner life.  

Mercy will involve treating people better than they deserve. When you could "drop the hammer" on them, you ease up. When you could chew them out, you refrain. When you could give them a piece of your mind, you opt for peace instead. When you could go by the letter of the law, you go by the spirit of the law. Instead of judging someone harshly, you make allowances for their humanity.   

If this merciful process sounds difficult at face value, it actually plays out better in real life. Instead of being wound up about people and what they have done, you are willing to overlook a lot.   

This will work wonders in your mind and emotions and will strengthen your mental health.   

If you go hard on people, you may develop a reputation for being the tough guy or tough gal. But it's also tougher on your soul. And beyond being tough, people who are cruel are not happy, well-adjusted people.   


In Matthew 5:7, Jesus said merciful people will get mercy. If you sow mercy seeds, you will reap mercy in your own life. I recognize I need mercy in my life. I need God's mercy and mercy from others.   

Planting seeds of mercy will help you sleep better at night. Your mind will not be caught up in what others have done wrong.   

Don't kid yourself. Mercy is not weak. And mercy is good for your soul.   


Heavenly Father, show me how to sow seeds of mercy toward others. You have been very merciful to me.