Every time you show mercy, every time you are kind and gracious to another believer, you are giving comfort.
A man from our church stopped me after a recent service and said, "Brother Wilkerson, let me tell you why I attend this church. My ninety-year-old mother just recently passed away. But for the past four years she was bedfast and I took care of her.
"At the church I used to attend, every Sunday I had to leave service early to go and tend to her. After a while, the pastor got tired of it and before the whole congregation he told me, 'If you're going to go, go now, before I start to preach.'
"Here at Times Square Church, no one has ever said a word to me about leaving early. That may seem like a small thing to you, but to me it's a very big thing. I have not had to explain to anyone here that I was going to leave early to get home home and take care of my mother."
Mercy must be shown in the ordinary, day-to-day things. Sometimes mercy can be just a smile that conveys understanding or an arm around someone's shoulder. It can be as simple as a sympathetic countenance or a word to someone who's hurting.
You can never offer mercy if you're constantly thinking of yourself: "God must be mad at me. I'm going to take a fall — I just know it." How can you offer comfort to others when you have not yet learned to draw comfort in God's mercy to you? "That we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. . . . whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation" (2 Corinthians 1:4, 6).
Merciful Christians are the Lord's comforters. They can show and speak mercy and lovingkindness because they have experienced the incredible comfort of God's mercy to them.