1 Timothy 1:13-14 (ESV)
“Though formerly I (Paul) was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”
Peter the Great, 17thcentury czar and emperor of Russia, confronted an officer of the army, a member of a secret society, who had plotted against Peter I. Because of the training of the soldiers in this secret society, though Peter I had him tortured 4 times in an attempt to break the soldier, he would not break. So Peter decided the soldier had been tortured enough, went up to him and kissed him. Peter asked him to confess the love you owe the czar, and he would grant him full pardon. In addition, as a special sign of his mercy he promised to make the man a colonel. The man confessed and was made a colonel. The point, Peter the Great showed pity on the man, but he did not show mercy until he did something to relieve the suffering. Mercy moves from feeling (pity) to action. Mercy is active compassion. Mercy begins with pity and ends with action. Mercy has three elements. First, there is recognition, “I see the need.” Second, there is motivation, “I am moved by the need.” Third, there is action, “I move to meet the need.” Christians are called to be merciful, as God is. Will God show mercy to you? Yes, God will act upon the pity felt when considering your situation, perhaps a miserable condition. Like Peter the Great mercifully acted to relieve the soldier, God mercifully acted to relieve us through Christ.