May 22, 2019

Spiritual Gift of Mercy and Empaths

Happy Friday, dark passengers. Tonight, we’re closing out the week with a two-part analysis of the spiritual gifts that pertain to Empaths: mercy and discernment. We’ll start with how empathic abilities are related to the spiritual gift of mercy and move onto discernment for part two on Saturday. While some could argue that mercy and discernment are the same gift, I’ve found them referenced separately on a few sites, so I’m sticking with it…although I tend to agree with combining them.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m an Empath – on this site, at least. In work settings, I try to be normal and blend into the group. What I haven’t mentioned until now is my personal mix of spiritual gifts.

Yep, the “crazy psychic lady” actually has spiritual gifts and knows what they are. Surprise! ;)

Personal Spiritual Gifts Inventory

When I took my first spiritual gifts inventory a few years back, my strengths were discernment, administration and one other I can’t recall right now. Just for grins, I thought I’d take a new inventory to see where I stand today. Actually, I took three in preparation to write this because I wanted to ensure I was accurate. (I’ve given links to the spiritual gifts inventories I used in the Resource section at the end of this post if you’d like to take one for yourself.)

The spiritual gift of administration rounds out my top three, but the other two are new…in a way. Mercy was off the charts high, with the gift of exhortation (to come along side of someone with words of encouragement, comfort, consolation, and counsel to help them be all God wants them to be. Romans 12:8) running a close second.

And all the inventories agreed, so I’m calling this an accurate assessment.

Setting aside administration as irrelevant to the conversation at hand, I can’t say I’m surprised by the top two spiritual gifts I possess, just as I wasn’t surprised by discernment. I mean, beyond the Empath thing, I’m the person people seem to gravitate towards when they need to talk or unburden themselves. But anyway, now that I’ve made full disclosure of where I’m coming from, both from a spiritual gifts perspective and a psychic gifts perspective, let’s get on with it.

Empathic Abilities

Without getting into a full-blown dissertation on what it means to be an Empath, let’s quickly cover the basics:

  • Feels the emotions, feelings and/or pain of others as if they were their own
  • Often suffers as a result of empathic abilities
  • Sometimes unable to tell where other people’s emotions end and their own begin.

If I’m honest, being an Empath isn’t a totally positive experience…AT ALL. Some people learn how to block out others, but it’s not always absolute, as things can still trickle past your defenses. For other Empaths, they never gain the ability to effectively shield against the emotions of others.

Spiritual Gift of Mercy

We talked about this yesterday, but let’s refresh ourselves on the definition of the spiritual gift of mercy:

“To be sensitive toward those who are suffering, whether physically, mentally or emotionally, so as to feel genuine sympathy with their misery, speaking words of compassion but moreso caring for them with deeds of love to help alleviate their distress.” – Romans 12:8

In one of the spiritual gifts inventories I took, it provided a lengthy section of information on the spiritual gift of mercy. It discussed all the merits of the gift, then went on to warn:

“However, left untrained, you may destroy yourself by your tendency to take people’s problems home with you. Your empathy can become detrimental without personal training on how to deal with it.”

Note: Because that comment on mercy was part of the assessment sent to me via email, I’m not sure if it’s accessible through a web link or not, otherwise, I’d link to it for you.

Editor’s Note 4/20: The above definition is from MinTools, using Romans 12:8 as a basis for it. The NIV translation actually says “If it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

Empaths and Mercy

At this point, can you see the overlap between those two? Both types of gifts have the ability to experience the emotions and pain of others and can suffer as a result. At times, both groups need training to learn how not carry the negative – and often lasting – effects of their gifts.

But let’s be very clear: empathic abilities and the spiritual gift of mercy are not one in the same. Not totally. You can feel sympathy towards someone’s suffering without actually experiencing it when you have the gift of mercy. Empaths don’t get that luxury.

Being an Empath is somewhat like having the gift of mercy if it were on steroids.

Now, is it possible that some Christians who have the spiritual gift of mercy are, in fact, Empaths? Absolutely. The inventory analysis didn’t provide details on how exactly people with mercy suffer and how they learn to deal with it. I sort of doubt your neighborhood pastor is going to teach psychic shielding techniques, so I can only assume it has something to do with prayer and fortifying oneself with God’s love before and after showing mercy towards others.

Of course, I doubt people with the spiritual gift of mercy view it as the same burden so many Empaths view their gifts to be . I mean, seriously, is there a Christian Empath alive who hasn’t prayed to God at least once to ask that He take away their gifts?

Oh…just me? Never mind then...

Tomorrow we’ll return to examine the spiritual gift of discernment as it relates to Empaths, Intuitives and Telepaths. Until then, tell me what you think about empathic abilities compared to mercy. Do you see the common ground between the realm of religion and the paranormal?


“Let your dark passenger come out to play…Be your own nemesis!”


Ministry Tools Resource Center’s Online Spiritual Gifts Test Inventory

Church Growth’s Free Spiritual Gifts Analysis

Elmer Towns’ Spiritual Gifts Questionnaire

© 2010, Jen Whitten. All rights reserved. Remember, using content from this site without prior written permission will either land you on Dexter’s table or set off the zombie apocalypse. DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU.


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About Jen Whitten

Jen Whitten is a paranormal researcher and writer, specializing in psychic development, Empaths, modern day vampirism and dealing with entities. She regularly discusses the paranormal realm, as well as the dark inner workings of the mind.


  1. Carrie says:

    Well I think that is plausible. I took a bunch of those tests and my top two are exhortation and mercy. I tried to be honest and think on my answers as I did so I also realized how much my life has changed over the years. I am a pretty lonely person because when I care too much my life gets taken over by others. That is me thought I tend to have trouble with balance and I am not an empath I really can’t imagine what it is like to really feel others emotions. Great post can’t wait to read the next one.
    .-= Carrie´s last blog ..Have You Ever Wondered if You Can be a Christian and Belive in the Paranoramal? =-.

  2. Jen Whitten says:

    Honestly, other people’s emotions only suck to experience when they’re negative. Joy and love are fine, even if they do hit at strange times usually. :)

    Empath or not, I think it’s easy to get pulled into other people’s issues – good or bad. I found that setting boundaries helped me with the non-paranormal part of it.
    .-= Jen Whitten´s last blog ..Spiritual Gift of Discernment and Empaths =-.

  3. jeramy says:

    can i ask you something what exactly are we? like what makes us so different that we are blessed or cursed with these gifts? or how can we be sure these things come from a being of good and not dark?

    • Jen Whitten says:


      Honestly, I think everyone has their own set of gifts and has to learn to control and use them as best they can. By nature, the gifts aren’t blessings or curses, aren’t inherently good or evil. Rather, the gifts just are and it’s up to each of us to determine how we’ll use them – be it for positive outcomes or with malicious intent.

      How can we be sure? I don’t think we can. So few things offer any tangible level of certainty. Psychic and spiritual gifts are no different. But I will say this: If your abilities did come from a dark being and you devote all your time, focus and energy to using them to do good works, I believe the dark being is going to be sorely disappointed.

      Granted, this is all just from my opinion/experience. I don’t pretend to be certain about anything…

      .-= Jen Whitten´s last blog ..All Story Updates on Hold Until Further Notice =-.

  4. Gaia Soleil says:

    Thanks for sharing this information. I’ve known all of my life that I was “different” because I could feel and sense things. I didn’t know it had a name until my pastor told me 3 years ago that it is called the gift of mercy and discernment. And today, after sharing some experiences with my therapist, she called me an Empath. I had no idea that what I have has a name and is a psychic ability. I’m a novice and I am looking to learn about my gift. What kind of resources would you recommend for learning more about Empathic abilities and how to control them?