Mercy. I had to really think about that word and its meaning in general and what it means to me personally. Then thoughts came to mind about hurts and forgiveness and the difficulties it all can cause in so many facets of life. Many hurts in my life have come from family and the betrayals there have been deep.
A few weeks ago, in a morning prayer, the message was sent from a daily email I receive from Pastor Joseph Prince where he was sharing that it is a fact that the Bible says ‘forgive.” It doesn’t say “forgive and forget…”
According to vocabulary.com, mercy is: “If you have mercy on someone, you let them off the hook or are kind to them somehow. This is a quality that has to do with compassion, forgiveness, and leniency.”
According to dictionary.com, what it means to be at someone’s mercy:
“compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power…”
These last 2 interviews have been wrought with many challenges in each of our lives, but in turn they have made for very poignant conversations. I suspect this will no different.
Carol: So Karyn, how do you describe the gift of mercy especially “ in the mourning?”
Karyn: How does one begin to describe the gift of mercy in the mourning? Mercy is the only pure emotion which makes no sense at all. It requires nothing in return, but gives everything it has in the moment. It is an unconditional gift that is contingent only upon the “tender mercies” of the giver. When the gift of “tender mercy” is afforded to you, without any expectation of reciprocity, it leaves you feeling a sense of awe and wonder.
Carol: Mercy, an interestingly interpreted word. The last sentence was a very visually and emotionally felt explanation for me….
Karyn: Carol, many have seen the bumper sticker that says, “I believe in random acts of kindness.” To me, this is the most benevolent description of the way to display mercy. Randomly! How fun it is to be able to bestow a gift of mercy upon the least suspecting! How wonderful it is to be a grateful recipient when mercy is offered to you!
Carol: Absolutely, without question!
Have you found it difficult ever to forgive or give mercy to those very dear?
Karyn: Showering our loved ones with mercy may seem easy when all is going well! It is easy to do as it suggests in 1 Peter; to “love those who love you!” But even that great example of mercy, Jesus Christ says, “If ye love those who love you; what thank have ye? For even sinners do the same!” Mercy may become more difficult when a much valued, cherished or appreciated friend becomes an “enemy” overnight.
Carol: Karyn, has thinking about this topic brought any personal incidents to mind?
Karyn: Recently, my husband appeared in the doorway looking devastated. Upon questioning him, I discovered that one of his friends had been the recipient of a sudden eviction notice from his most intimate circle of friends; his very own family. His wife, without any heads-up, took their children and left him without an explanation or warning.
A few weeks passed. My husband’s friend tried to make contact with her and they came to an amicable solution. But, when she reported their mediation efforts to her personal attorney, he became incensed that she had taken mediation into her own hands. He forbid her to continue and had her call the police to send them over to arrest her husband. He was forbidden to leave his house. He had been inspired by the scripture that says, “If ye have fought with your brother, go to the one who has offended thee….” He had followed scriptural advice only to discover that his merciful heart was now under attack by the authorities.
My husband and I mourned together for this man’s loss. With his wife on the warpath, she was bent on turning his children against him. I understood, as I have been through divorce before (and annulment), but never have I sought to deprive my former husband of his relationships with his children. Nor, have I ever endeavored to leave my former spouse in a place where he was financially devastated so that I could be “better off without him.”
Carol: that was certainly a potent share/example…
Karyn: There are many who might disagree with me on the matter of showing mercy in relationships that have run amuck. There are those who believe that in the case of a break-up, separation or a divorce, it is perfectly acceptable to leave someone you once loved, once upon a time, “high and dry”
When I used to speak and sing at the prison to the inmates there, I was shocked when I saw that hardened faces could become softened when they heard the stories of Christ showing mercy to those less fortunate, even those who were called “sinners.”
I remember watching hardened eyes soften as I would suggest, “If getting married and divorced as many times as I have was a crime, I would be in here with the rest of you.” The inmates laughed. Some even teared-up. After singing to them my songs about the woman at the well (mentioned in Luke), I could see that they appreciated her story. She had been married four times and was living with her fifth when she met Jesus at Jacob’s well in Samaria.
Carol: and ?
Karyn: Without chiding, ridiculing, shaming or blaming her, Jesus gazed upon that woman with tenderness, compassion and mercy. He acknowledged her hidden needs that had obviously gone unmet. Instead of criticizing her many futile attempts at creating a long-lasting relationship, he offered her pure love, telling her that He could provide her with endless fonts of living water; even so much so, that if she would drink of the living water that He had for her, she would never thirst again.