Mercy..... I know I said I would have discussed this sooner but this is not an easy topic for me to wrap my head and heart around and have them come close to an agreement. First I must say that I am very big on the idea of “accountability”. I have a strong belief that people need to be held “accountable” for their actions. It is that great cause and effect deal. You put something into motion and what comes after is on you. This is why mercy is hard for me at times because for me hearing the “reasons” or as I will say “excuses” do not come into bearing on the end result.
Before I go on... I will admit this is not how I know I need to be but I am not going to mislead either. This comes from my struggles with the concept and how I am trying to reconcile mercy in my world and in my faith. I know without a doubt our God is a merciful God. There is no doubt at all to me. Yet, I am also a believer in that I need and should be held accountable for all my sins. This is where the problem occurs for me. It is hard for me to ask for mercy because the overwhelming sense of being held accountable. This idea of God’s mercy and being accountable I will return to after jumping into mercy and justice for our world.
Justice and Mercy in the “secular” world is yet another issue to tackle. Again, the idea of being accountable is so very important to me. I feel that at this time in the world the sense of “accountability” is becoming less important and reasons for actions are becoming more of a leading force. It is more important for us to excuse behaviors then hold people to a standard. Also at times the victim’s or the victim’s families voice get drown out because the perpetrator’s excuses has a louder voice. Maybe for some they have to understand why the perpetrator did what they did or maybe to find a way this will not happen again. That I understand but when it comes down to the part of being accountable, where does these excuses come in? and where does Mercy enter in? Well, it is in the sentencing. This is where the Judge or Jury can show mercy. For example:
case 1: A person is driving under the influence and has killed a pedestrian. This is the first time and this person came from the repass of his mother.
case 2: A person is driving under the influence and has killed a pedestrian. This person has had 2 prior convictions and is driving while on the revoke list.
Both cases ended in a death. Yet, how dose Mercy come in. Case 1 say gets 5 years and the 2nd gets 10 years. Now, understand I have a hard time with this because no matter what, a person died. A family is forever changed. When the end result is death I personally find it hard to offer mercy. Yet, lets look at another situation.
case 3: A man is found guilty of stealing. What he stole was food for his family.
case 4: A man is found guilty of stealing. What he stole was dvd’s to sell and get money for drugs.
In this case I can without doubt show mercy to case 3 because of the reasons behind his actions. Others will say also for case 4 because it is a situation of addiction. How do you see these two cases? Does one get more mercy shown then another? Does showing Mercy teach them a lesson to learn or learn to use excuses?
This is my problem because we are to show Mercy across the board. Mercy like Justice should be blind. This is what Jesus and God shows to each of us when it comes to our sins. I know I am not worthy of Heaven by my means at all, it is only through the grace and mercy of God is that even attainable for me.
The justice system I would say works in mercy by the sentencing of the person. They hold them accountable but takes into account other factors in that term of sentencing. For those who are the victim or victims family, it is hard to see that mercy shown there because of what they lost. This is not for all victims. Some will speak on showing mercy and I give them much credit because I do not know if I could and honestly do not think I could.
That is Mercy and the Justice system but what about ourselves. How do we show mercy to each other? We are to act with mercy for one another. We are to go beyond what the situation is and offer mercy to those who are in need or for those who may have acted harshly. It is in part showing compassion to others and their circumstances. I find it easy to show mercy to those who are in need. It is what my Catholic Faith calls me to do and it is within me that I can act on it. It is harder for me to show mercy to someone who has “wronged” me or someone I care about. I know I still need to show that same mercy to them and yet it is hard to do. I am trying to do this because I know this action is wrong. That mercy is for all and not a select group of people.
I wonder and I may be a bit off course but would forgiving someone be an act of Mercy? Or even a step in the process of mercy? I think that is a part of mercy, forgiving. It is what comes after that forgiving that shows mercy. I do not think that it is going to the way things were that shows mercy but maybe just the fact of letting go and letting go of the anger and vengeance is where mercy starts to take root. Then if there comes a time when paths cross again, the root of mercy that took hold will help you to show that mercy. If we ask for mercy, we need to be able to offer it as well.
Mercy as you can tell is not easy for me. In some cases I can easily show and offer it and yet other times not at all. It is something I know I need to work and pray on and learn from others. God offers us Mercy and so does Jesus. There is no line of mercy that will end with Them for us. It is infinite. There is nothing we can do and ask for mercy and forgiveness that it will not be granted. This we have seen over and over in both New and Old Testament. From Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, David, Job, the Apostles, Mary Magdalene, the Women at the Well, the Thief on the Cross etc... There are many many more we can find in the bible as well. I ask you to read those stories of mercy and let them penetrate your heart and draw on them when faced to show mercy when it is hard. I know I will be.
Until tomorrow, God Bless, and let us show mercy to all those who are in need of mercy.
Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
The crowd in Philippi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas,
and the magistrates had them stripped
and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
After inflicting many blows on them,
they threw them into prison
and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.
When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell
and secured their feet to a stake.
About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying
and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened,
there was suddenly such a severe earthquake
that the foundations of the jail shook;
all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose.
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open,
he drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul shouted out in a loud voice,
“Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.”
He asked for a light and rushed in and,
trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them out and said,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus
and you and your household will be saved.”
So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.
He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds;
then he and all his family were baptized at once.
He brought them up into his house and provided a meal
and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.
PS 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8
R. (7c) Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple,
and give thanks to your name.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
Because of your kindness and your truth,
you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Now I am going to the one who sent me,
and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’
But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.
For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes he will convict the world
in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation:
sin, because they do not believe in me;
righteousness, because I am going to the Father
and you will no longer see me;
condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”