In this nugget we are going to take a look at the definitions for the word mercy. The terms pity and compassion are used with the word mercy, so we explore their definitions also.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions of Mercy
1 compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power; also : lenient or compassionate treatment
2 a: blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion b: a fortunate circumstance
3 compassionate treatment of those in distress
Mercy implies compassion that forbears punishing even when justice demands it
Greek Defintions of Mercy
eleeō: to have pity or mercy on, to show mercy
to feel sympathy with the misery of another, and especially sympathy manifested in an act.
Oikteiro: to have pity on; an exclamation, oh ! stronger term than eleeō
Hilaskomai: to be merciful, to expiate, make propitiation
Eleemon: merciful actively compassionate
Oiktirmon: pitiful, compassionate for the ills of others, of tender mercy
Hileos: propitious, merciful used only of God
Eleos: “is the outward manifestation of pity’ it assumes need on the part of him who receives it, and resources adequate to meet the need on the part of him who shows it.
Oiktirmos: pity, compassion for the ills of others, the inward parts, as the seat of emotion, the ‘heart’
Splangchon: affections, the heart, has reference to feelings of kindness, goodwill, pity
Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions of Pity
1 a : sympathetic sorrow for one suffering, distressed, or unhappy b : capacity to feel pity
Pity implies tender or sometimes slightly contemptuous sorrow for one in misery or distress; the act or capacity for sharing the painful feelings of another.
Greek Defintions of Pity
Polusplanchnos: denotes very pitiful or full of pity
Eusplanchnos: compassionate, tenderhearted, ‘of good heartedness’ pitiful
Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions of Compassion
Compassion implies pity coupled with an urgent desire to aid or to spare; to sympathize, from Latin com- + pati to bear, suffer; sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it
Greek Defintions of Compassion
splachnizomai; from Greek (splagchnon); to be moved in the inward parts, i.e. to feel compassion :- feel compassion, felt compassion, moved with compassion, take pity.
Sumpatheo to suffer with another, to be affected similarily, to have compassion upon, ‘be touched with’
Metriopatheo ‘have compassion’
Sumpathes denotes suffering with, “compassionate”
Putting all the definitions together mercy is:
To have compassion, pity, sympathy, kindness, goodwill, to suffer with, tenderhearted. There is action that follows with the feeling of mercy towards someone. To show mercy is to do more than just speak words of comfort-it is to find ways to extend comfort.
In the next nugget we will look at what scripture has to say about mercy.
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Copyright © 2002 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserv
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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations used are from the New American Standard Version (NASB).