Jesus Gives the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

(See Luke 16:19–31.)

President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

“How godlike a quality is mercy. It cannot be legislated. It must come from the heart. It must be stirred up from within. It is part of the endowment each of us receives as a son or daughter of God and partaker of a divine birthright. I plead for an effort among all of us to give greater expression and wider latitude to this instinct which lies within us. I am convinced that there comes a time, possibly many times, within our lives when we might cry out for mercy on the part of others. How can we expect it unless we have been merciful ourselves?

“A parable of the Master comes to mind:

“‘There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

“‘And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

“‘And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: . . .

“‘And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

“‘And in hell he lift[ed] up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

“‘And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

“‘But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

“‘And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot’ (Luke 16:19–26).

“I plead for a stronger spirit of compassion in all of our relationships, a stronger element of mercy, for the promise is sure that if we are merciful we shall obtain mercy. . . .

“Mercy is of the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The degree to which each of us is able to extend it becomes an expression of the reality of our discipleship under Him who is our Lord and Master. . . .

“I am confident that a time will come for each of us when, whether because of sickness or infirmity, of poverty or distress, of oppressive measures against us by man or nature, we shall wish for mercy. And if, through our lives, we have granted mercy to others, we shall obtain it for ourselves.”

(“Blessed Are the Merciful,” Ensign, May 1990, 68, 69, 70.)