And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them.
I find it very comforting that upon the people’s recognition of their carnal and fallen state, the Holy Ghost, identified as the Spirit of the Lord, immediately responded to them. Now, the interesting thing is that they instantly received a remission of their sins. It’s certainly an example of Godly mercy if I’ve ever seen one!
In applying that to our lives, we see the beauty of Godly mercy anywhere we choose to seek it, so long as it is not in a carnal and fallen place of existence. (Meaning if you’re looking for God, don’t go to unholy places to find Him.)
Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ have exercised all Their efforts to the end of bringing us all home.
Jesus Christ said to the ancient prophet, Moses:
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39)
Whatever Jesus Christ’s goal is, it is also Heavenly Father’s goal, for Jesus Christ does nothing that the Father would not do. Thus, it is safe to assume that anytime we turn to Heavenly Father, we have someone who will always listen and respond. Of course, the level of that response is often contingent upon our worthiness.
If we are prone to drinking, drugs, promiscuity, and the like of equally destructive behaviors, we are not showing God that we are desirous to receive His mercy. Because we qualify for God’s mercy when we sincerely repent, His mercy takes effect if we have made the decision to turn from that lifestyle and seek after Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. Then He stands ready and waiting to assist in every possible way. All you have to do is really try.
This is how Godly mercy works. There is no way we can achieve perfection during mortality. Only Jesus Christ, the literal Son of God, accomplished that task. But the mercy comes into play when we do all that we possibly can to reach Him once again.
Remember when the Savior taught His apostles and disciples to pray?
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)
He then goes on to say:
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)
And this I add to my daily prayers, for the mercy of God does exist simply in the proof we have from the scriptures, which He has given us as a moral and ethical compass. All you have to do is turn from the world, with its bright, shiny things, and reach toward that heavenly light which is Jesus Christ. Then Godly mercy will come into play in your life and you’ll wonder what you ever saw in the world’s offerings.
This post was originally published in March 2008. Minor changes have been made.