Several months ago I took a ministry course in spiritual gifts. I had taken a few different spiritual gifts assessments and the dominant and consistent result is that I have the gift of eleeo or mercy. Of course we’re all capable of mercy and are called to be merciful. Mercy as a gift is different from just being a forgiving person. Mercy as a spiritual gift is defined as: The ability to identify with and actually feel the physical, mental, spiritual ,and emotional pain or distress of others and to feel absolute necessity to do something to relieve them.
After learning all of mercy’s characters and traits everything made sense. Before deciding to come to Jesus I was quite an unforgiving person. It was not in my character to try to understand the hurt in people. Drug addicts were losers, white privilege was some made up ideal foreign to me, and boy could I hold a grudge! I started noticing a change in my heart for issues and people I once regarded as wastes of time. It wasn’t even that I found myself understanding their pain, I had to help them. I had to find a way to ease their pain. This led to days of pain within myself if I didn’t reach out or at least pray for them. This isn’t limited to the person effected by pain, but it reaches to the person that has caused the pain as well. Hurt people hurt people. So I look beyond the original action that has caused pain and I look for the why. Why is this system or person causing harm and how can grace be introduced to create change? Mainly, my areas of hypersensitivity are with those who suffer, whether it be self-inflicted or caused by another broken person or broken system. It makes no difference to me.
If you are a Christian, I believe it is infinitely valuable to learn what your spiritual gift is, what a spiritual gift is and what it is not, and how it can be used in the body of Christ. My gift would not be useful in areas such as building homes or wells, just as a builder would not do their best works in missions or caring for the hurting or forgotten people. There are many people working in areas of the Body that are actually called to do something entirely different. For example, a school teacher might not actually have the gift of teaching a class at church. If we are to build up the Body, we should learn where God wants us, not just where we think we belong.
To learn more, I am including links to help you along.
Methodist Online Assessment ( this is obviously not limited to whether or not you are a member of a Methodist Church)
These are all tools I have previously used and have found much help in discovering my gifts. If this is something you would like to learn more about feel free to say so and I will make this a series.