Monday, December 1, 2008


I've been contemplating the virtue of mercy lately. I’ve heard so much about what a beautiful gift it is but most explanations of mercy have fallen short of the mark for me. I mean, what is it really? Does mercy refer only to forgiveness? Does it also include love? Kindness? Generosity? Then I heard this definition: mercy is when we are given gifts and blessings we do not deserve. God pours out His mercy whenever He blesses us, because, in reality, we are not entitled to any of His gifts, or even His love. This definition truly helped me to understand and appreciate God's mercy and how I am so incredibly dependent upon it. If I was only given the help and guidance, the forgiveness and patience, the love and kindness, the compassion, peace, wisdom, understanding (etc...) I was deserving of I would be without so much....
However, as much as I am grateful for my new understanding of mercy, and , of course, for the mercy I receive in my own life, I also feel condemn by it all. By grasping the concept of receiving lovingly from God all that He gives, though I deserve none of it, I feel compelled to look at my own generosity, or lack of it. I must ask myself, am I merciful to others? Do I give to others, even to my family and friends, that which they do not necessarily deserve? Am I generous in handing out forgiveness, love, kindness, patience, and compassion especially to those who I do not see as deserving? The frightening but true answer to all these questions is, unfortunately, NO.
I realize that I am very reserved in my giving. I only give love and kindness to those I see as worthy. I am even more stingy about forgiveness. I oftentimes do not even give to others the things that they Do deserve! And I tend to justify my selfishness, usually by reminding myself of all the reasons why other people are undeserving.
Understanding mercy is like a slap in the face to me! If God is truly asking me to be merciful than I have run out of excuses for myself and my actions! If I call myself a Christian but refuse to imitate Christ in mercy than what am I really? And what is the solution, but to turn to God and once again ask for HIS mercy? Please, Lord help me, strengthen me and guide me so that I may grow in mercy, because, though I do not deserve your help I can surely not be merciful without it.

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