The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines mercy as follows:
- Compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power.
- A blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion.
Mercy is the compassion, forgiveness, and forbearance of God with respect to sinners made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. According to the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Plan of Salvation designed by a loving God moderates the full effects of justice upon God's children, all of whom sin. The demands of justice call for a punishment to be affixed to each crime. Christ takes upon Himself the punishment for all repentant sinners, thereby allowing mercy to mitigate justice.
- Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.
- And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also (Alma 42:3, 15).
- And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature?
- But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the claw, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.
- But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice (Alma 42:21-23).
- Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
- Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen (Alma 26:35, 37).
- For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.
- O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more (2 Nephi 9:6, 8).
- And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
- And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.
- Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;
- Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save (Alma 34:15-18).
- That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.
- For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things (Doctrine and Covenants 88: 35, 40).
Although the Lord has offered mankind a plan whereby Christ will suffer the punishment for man's sin when there is repentance, the Lord makes it clear that He will not show mercy to the unmerciful. Those who judge others without mercy and offer no forgiveness, will receive no mercy from the Lord:
- For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment (James 2: 13).
- And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he turned again to the multitude, and did open his mouth unto them again, saying: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Judge not, that ye be not judged.
- For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again (3 Nephi 14: 1-2).