We all love mercy when we’re the recipient. When we’re the giver, however, it’s much more difficult.
I’m both intrigued and terrified by Benedict. I’m intrigued that he is constantly learning, even though he can’t verbalize his experiences in English. I’m terrified that he’s already learning from my example. As I continually consider what things I want to highlight for him, the subject of mercy comes up.
I’m a frequent sinner and consequently I’m frequently in line for Confession. Each time I go to the Sacrament, I receive a ridiculous amount of mercy that I in no way merit and, for good measure, within a week or two, I’m back in line. Yet, because I am a child of God and because He desires a relationship with me, He continues to forgive and I get another chance to get it right.
There’s an amazing lesson in that mystery. God desires a relationship with me so deeply that He’s willing to forgive my numerous offenses. We all need a little more of that.
It’s terribly sad when parents and children aren’t talking because of something that happened years ago. It’s terribly sad when marriages break up because of a serious breach of trust. It’s terribly sad when someone leaves the Church because they can’t reconcile with some teaching.
We all experience serious breaches of trust. We all experience betrayal. We all experience disappointment in relationships. Yet, we’re supposed to be merciful. We’re supposed to extend the olive branch. We desire to be in relationship with the person who hurt us. Do we want it deeply enough to overlook offenses?
Are you merciful with your wife?
Are you merciful with your kids?
Are you merciful with your friends?
Are you merciful with your coworkers?
Are you merciful with yourself?
The great thing about mercy is it’s intrinsic healing properties. Mercy fosters trust. A broken trust starts to heal, even if slowly, when mercy is given. Mercy fosters love. When you receive mercy or extend it, you get a glimpse into the heart of God. Mercy fosters peace. Mercy ends conflict and brings harmony.
The next time you’re in a position where someone hurts you, extend mercy so that you both might experience its beauty.