“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Matthew 9:13
Jesus told the Pharisees to go and learn what that means. “…I will have mercy and not sacrifice…” The religious are always trying to make sacrifice the thing that pleases God, but God prefers mercy.
Sacrifices don’t necessarily come from a pure heart, but mercy does. Heart condition is what God judges. So many go on fasts, consecration, they call it…then broadcast it and ask people to pray for them. Fasting should be done in secret, so God can reward you openly. This is why Jesus prefers mercy to sacrifice.
Sacrifices can be manipulated to impress God and man. Mercy can’t be faked. Just when we want to ignore someone who doesn’t measure up to our standards, God will melt our heart toward them and we glorify God by pouring His love out to them. Mercy has it all over sacrifice.