To show mercy can be a powerful experience - both for the giver and the receiver. It seems simple enough - to show compassion to another person, especially in a time of need or despair. Who wouldn't want to do that? Yet, there are so many reasons why we might fall short of this opportunity.
Let's start when WE were in need, when we had a difficult situation that we were bearing. Where did you find comfort? Was it a kind word that someone shared with you? Maybe a meal that was made when you needed nourishment? How about a note or card that was sent to you - letting you know that someone was thinking of you? Perhaps comfort came in the words, "I will pray for you". I know I have had many times when people showed mercy to me. There were times when I was sick with cancer, unable to cook for my family or at times, even to lift my head off the pillow. Family and friends were there - to make meals, to hold my hand, to just "be" with me. There was a wonderful woman who left a card, every day, under my door at work. EVERY DAY! What mercy she shared with me. The time it took for her to purchase the cards, write a note of encouragement, and then walk the walk up to my office (which was not on her way to her work station). I've kept those cards - all of them. It reminds me how much someone cared. One might say, "That doesn't seem so special". I can tell you it meant the world to me.
Showing mercy to someone when they need it most comes in many different ways. It could begin with a note, or card. Maybe it comes through making a meal or spending time listening (or just being) with the person. Yes, these are great things to do when physical needs have to be met. Yet, sometimes we find that we are too busy to do these things, and just don't have time to be merciful. You know, there is cleaning the house and getting the laundry done. There is yard work that has to get accomplished and work to tend to. Are we too busy? Can we take the time? These are questions we have to ask ourselves - sometimes they can be tough questions.
There are times, though, when it isn't physical needs that have to be met, but the soul may need compassion. Is someone coming to you asking for forgiveness? Well now, that might be a bit more difficult. Maybe you were deeply hurt by that person - maybe you aren't ready to forgive them yet. Is someone coming to you to share a sin and ask for repentance, even if it wasn't towards you? Maybe that sin comes too close to home for you to believe there should be repentance. Showing mercy in ALL situations to ALL people is what Jesus asks from us. Not when it is convenient, not when we it falls into our personal values, but to show mercy ALL the time. Isn't that what Jesus does for us? Jesus shows us compassion regardless of our situation. He shows us mercy, maybe when we least deserve it. Shouldn't we do the same for others?
I don't know about you, but there are times when I don't reflect the mercy that Jesus reflects to me. There are times when I find myself too busy or maybe too set in my ways. That is why the beatitudes are wonderful reminders of how we should live our lives. This week, let us take the time. Time to listen, time to do something special, time to pray for someone, time to forgive. Let us show mercy to others, for as Jesus says, "...for they will be shown mercy".
Heavenly Father, let us be mindful to show mercy ALL the time, not just when it is convenient. Compassion takes on many forms. May we be mindful of those around us and their needs. Help us to be the person of mercy. We know, and believe, that if we show mercy to others, it will be shown to us. You are the greatest example of that Jesus. Please continue to extend your mercy to me. In your name I pray. Amen.