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What has become of mercy, and will we ever get it back?

I had the most interesting read this morning.  My daily meditation was centered on mercy.  I found the way the topic was structured compelling.  The author wrote of how mercy has escaped us as a people.  We’ve, without even realizing stopped having mercy for our fellow humans.  Day in day out we’re bombarded with images of how war/power/lording over others is the way to be respected, heard, powerful.  To win.  So much so that we no longer have a sense of mercy for hose who have “wronged” us.  Yet, as the author points out we all want mercy bestowed upon us.  But, when we feel injustice our immediate reaction is to respond defensively, and to wound the one who harmed us by cutting them deeper than they cut us.  The notion being that until we begin to offer mercy to those who attack us, or break our hearts, or however they may inflict harm and pain upon us, we will never know true peace.  Not within ourselves, not within our countries.

Fascinating.  I’d never thought of the absence of mercy as being a root in the unrest of our planet.

I can honestly say that I didn’t even think that retaliation with my words, or with my actions, against Yannick, my girls, my friends, or family when we disagree, or have a fight, as being a lack of mercy for the other person.  I have only ever thought it as defending myself.  And you know what, perhaps it is, and maybe it is not.  Maybe every time we seek revenge, on whatever scale in our relationships we’re not only damaging the relationships, but we’re harming the energy of the world as a whole.  It is really quite fascinating to think that seeking to hurt somebody more than they hurt you as an act, ripples outside of that relationship.  That vengeful thinking within our own lives has power that lives outside of us, on a larger scale.

Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm.

The author continues to say that it’s like we’re all basically immune to the fact that we’re lacking mercy because media, movies, television, all of it focuses on revenge.  Hell even the mighty Oprah preached:  “Success is the best revenge.”  Even when we put a “positive spin” on it, revenge still in its essence is negative.  Like when a girl gets her heart broken when she’s dumped by a guy, and her friends all tell her to go out, be as hot as she can, so that he regrets ever leaving her.  Again, it is negative, like she wasn’t enough to keep him in the first place, and by upsetting him will make her feel better.  Revenge in any way, I now see, isn’t the answer.  Although becoming as successful as you desire for yourself is definitely a great way to live your life, because you want to have the best life you can have.  Looking and feeling awesome for yourself is one thing, doing it to hurt somebody who hurt you…not so much.

Shit.  Even all the romantic comedies I’ve ever loved need to get their messages straight.  Funny how something innocent, such as entertainment, where even the good guy becomes the good guy by killing or exacting revenge, it is what we see day in day out.  In fact, if we do not avenge ourselves in any and every situation are we not seen as weak?  In the bible Jesus said; “turn the other cheek.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m no good at that.  I’ve been feisty my entire life.  Debating until the one who would dare match the duo of dialogue with me bowed out from exhaustion.  What would be so hard if I just conceded?  Well I tell you what would be wrong with that, in my a-type, stubborn spirit, I would lose, and losing in my household growing up was no option, and was no fun.  So I guess what the author says of having no sense of mercy is something you’re taught.  You’re either taught to have it or you’re taught not to have it.  I can see that clearly now.  I had no idea that for the past thirty years of being in a relationship with Yannick he’s been teaching me about mercy.  Because you know who is a God at mercy?  My husband is.  He’s not only been exercising mercy with me all these years, but he has also been teaching it to me.

Bless him for his patience with not only me, but the world at large.  Funny how we might not willing receive the message from somebody we’re in an intimate relationship with, but one stranger writes a chapter on it and the light bulb goes off?!?

Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm.

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. I never thought about that until you wrote about it! I think it is right on! Especially in light of the goings on in Washington today. I can see that I’ve done that in my life and the times I just shut up and said nothing or gave in to an argument I was hell bent on winning, I felt like I I was giving in, not showing mercy. That makes me go Hmmm! I remember reading that with every interaction we have with another being, we send a ripple in the universe, whether it be positive or negative. So if we are to show compassion, mercy, love, that ripple will directly affect those that encounter it. Same with negative energy. Lord knows I try, but some days, the shit just flys out of my mouth without thinking. I have to be mindful of the damage that does and shut up when I don’t have anything nice to say or am in a bad mood. Thanks for the insight.

  2. The hardest thing for most of us to practice, so you are certainly not alone on the mercy issue. Very fortunate that you receive and recognize when mercy extended your way.
    Only you can know the full extent of YB’s merciful love, but it does come through in some of his gentle Instagram/Twitter posts for the rest of us to see, which is why, I think, he has so many admirers. He’s so much more than another handsome face!
    What a good and timely devotional lesson you uncovered.

  3. On many levels, I agree with the lack of mercy idea. I’m not sure I buy into all the examples, though.

    In the past 5 years I’ve learned to hold my tongue in times of “attack” from someone I loved dearly. While slowly dying inside, I’ve refrained from saying something in retaliation. Instead, I’ve focused on my breathing, on soothing my heart and soul, on anything and everything other than striking back. At the end of the day, my mind is calmer because of this. However, I’ve found myself tweeting some of my harsher thoughts, deleting them out of regret, and then wondering if I’m truly merciful enough in my heart.

    On the other hand, I do feel there is a point when speaking up for yourself is important because there are some people who will continue to verbally, emotionally, and/or physically attack you otherwise. They may still do so after you speak out, but you’ve at least made the effort to state your value aloud. It doesn’t need to be confrontational, but it may seem so to the attacker or even an outsider.

    Mercy is something we must show to one another AND to ourselves. There has to be a way to do so.

    So much heavy thinking for a Saturday. For the weekend. I’m grateful I caught this post today. Thank you for sharing!

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