Mercy is the compassionate treatment of a person greater than what is deserved, and it is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Our Heavenly Father knows our weaknesses and sins. He shows mercy when He forgives us of our sins and helps us return to dwell in His presence.
God’s compassion may seem to conflict with the law of justice, which requires that no unclean thing be permitted to dwell with Him (see 1 Nephi 10:21). But the Atonement of Jesus Christ made it possible for God to “be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also” (Alma 42:15).
The Savior satisfied the demands of justice when He stood in our place and suffered the penalty for our sins. Because of this selfless act, the Father can mercifully withhold punishment from us and welcome us into His presence. To receive the Lord’s forgiveness, we must sincerely repent of our sins. As the prophet Alma taught, “Justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved” (Alma 42:24; see also Alma 42:22–23, 25).
Forgiveness of sin is not the only gift of mercy from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Every blessing we receive is an act of mercy, more than we could ever merit on our own. Mormon taught, “All things which are good cometh of Christ; otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them” (Moroni 7:24). For example, we are recipients of divine mercy when Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers, when we receive guidance from the Holy Ghost, and when we are healed from sickness through priesthood power. Although all such blessings come as results of our obedience, we could never receive them through our efforts alone. They are merciful gifts from a loving and compassionate Father.
Speaking to His disciples, the Savior commanded: “Be ye … merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36). We can follow our Heavenly Father’s example of mercy in our relationships with others. We can strive to rid our life of arrogance, pride, and conceit. We can seek ways to be compassionate, respectful, forgiving, gentle, and patient, even when we are aware of others’ shortcomings.