Mercy is not giving something one does deserve. We often speak of grace, but not often of mercy. Likely this is because mercy recognizes what we deserve. God demonstrated mercy by not giving us what we deserve because of what He gave us in His son. Do we live by mercy as much as we live by grace?
At my college the tradition engaged couples would ring the bell on the tower. The soon to be groom would then run for his life as his dorm mates, well… The soon to be bride would tell her tale to a chorus of amen’s, oops, I mean awww’s. This auspicious ceremony performed numerous times had a wake.
For those not engaged, desiring to be engaged, wondering if they’ll ever be engaged, each time the bell rang was painful. For those who recently broke up, it was even worse. The Bible says we should rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn. Engagements were to be celebrated, and rightfully so.
The gift of silence
The Bible also describes mercy, grace, compassion and humility. While we had the right 10 years ago to celebrate in a way many have before us, we also had the ability to let that right go. The issue, for us, wasn’t we thought someone might suffer through it. We knew people who would suffer. There were other ways to celebrate, this one tradition we let slide.
Having the right to something doesn’t always mean you should exercise that right. Mercy, grace, compassion and humility often need us to give up rights. Not a legalistic jail of hypothetical maybe’s, but such is a knowledgeable act of compassion to people you know.
The question comes down to how much do you value people. It is easy to push people away for something you have a right to. It is easy to force your rights, and while entitled, may cause damage.In this lessons about God, the leadership in Israel missed; not just walk justly, but also show mercy and walk in humility. People matter.
The bottom line:
An act of mercy is often withholding something that we know may cause pain or suffering to someone else. Mercy is just as potent as grace, and the two are definite cousins. It may not be the fair thing to do, but it is the compassionate one.
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” ~ Micah 6:8