Gracious (in Christian belief): showing divine grace. Synonyms: merciful, compassionate, kind.
Merciful: showing or exercising mercy. Synonyms: forgiving, compassionate, soft-hearted.
Were you raised to believe in a benevolent, loving God who also happened to be all-powerful, all-knowing and all-wise? Or were you raised with the idea of an angry God who was waiting for you to step out of line so God could berate you, guilt you, or worse yet, send you to hell?
For those of us who were raised with legalistic religious beliefs and/or with tyrannical, unhealthy fathers, the concept of a loving God who is gracious and merciful-compassionate, kind, soft-hearted-was foreign. Fear, not the reverential awe kind of fear, but the terror-stricken, panicky kind of fear, gripped our hearts as we considered the God we were supposed to worship.
David paints a very different picture of God. David, who was guilty of adultery, murder and deceit, knew the God who was gracious and merciful. He knew and stated unequivocally that his God-our God-is not one of whom we should be afraid, but is one whom we can count on for the ultimate tender care and warmest welcome. That is what our hearts need. That is what our God wants to give.
Thank you, God, that you are gracious and merciful. Thank you that we are safe in your love. Amen. — KGT