Two Sides To One Coin
The Bible may have some principles that fit on each side of a Godly coin. Mercy is said, by some, to be withholding punishment that is deserved, while grace is unmerited favor or giving blessing or benefit that is not deserved. We approach the throne of God when we pray. Hebrews 4:16 says: "Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.” In this we can obtain mercy to be spared from deserved judgement and find grace as we receive underserved help.
One person I will use as an example of grace and mercy is Joseph. He had learned many lessons over the years before becoming second in command to Pharaoh in Egypt. He obviously learned from the mistakes of his youth. In his younger years, he revealed his dreams without grace and flaunted his father’s favoritism before his brothers (Genesis 37:3-11). After being sold into slavery in Egypt, he submitted to God’s will, seeking more of God’s plan for his life. With this he gained humility and became more serious about serving in order to give God the glory.
For many people, it takes many “ups and downs” in life to gain Godly perspective. Many Proverbs offer two sides of the Godly learning coin. One side has a rod and the other has reproofs. The rod is an instrument for punishment and reproofs are used for lessons of “Don’t do that again!”. The two can actually, at times, work together for added emphasis.
Joseph turned a corner in his life and it was even recognized by Pharaoh when he said “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” Godly growth had occurred when His brothers, who had sold him as a slave, came to Egypt to survive. Joseph told his steward to let them dine with him at noon (Genesis 43:16). He could have punished them but showed them grace and mercy with favor they did not deserve.
Just like Joseph, when we embrace both sides of the theological coin, we will grow in wisdom and maturity. God is also gracious and merciful to us and we are to grow to be more like Him. If we pray for these things, and keep our eyes and heart open to opportunities, we will find situations and people that we can show both mercy and grace. If you are like me, we need to pray for more wisdom and discernment of where to demonstrate mercy and grace (Ephesians 4:32).