But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do (what is required of you), what God is looking for in men and women. Do what is fair and just to your neighbor (act justly), be compassionate and loyal in your love (love mercy), and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously (walk humbly with God). Micah 6-8 MSG (NIV)
In my prayers, grace’s constant companion is mercy. “Thank you, Lord, for your grace and mercy.” Grace is giving me what I don’t deserve and cannot earn, but mercy? Mercy is all about not giving me my just desserts, what the consequences of my sins should have gotten me.
What I had not thought about until studying the word “mercy” is how we should show mercy toward others. It’s not that I didn’t know, I just didn’t spend intentional time showing mercy in my interactions with others.
We are on earth to live in relationship with others. It is really not all about me. Somehow, in the midst of daily living, I keep forgetting that.
The Latin word for “mercy” is “misericordia,” derived from the two words “miserere” (“pity” or “misery”) and “cor” (“heart”). Lord, Have mercy on me means Lord, relieve my heart of misery.
If His grace takes my breath away, His mercy humbles me to the point of tears. When I stop studying my navel long enough to spend a little time reflecting, I wonder, How did I get here, knowing what I did back there? Then, when I think about all the times I could have and should have extended mercy, relieved the misery of someone’s heart, and didn’t or wouldn’t. “Please, Lord, relieve my heart of misery!”
It is very meet, right and our bounden duty to show mercy – compassion, forgiveness – to others. Because as we know, it’s not about us. Except when it is.
Sometimes, the person who needs our mercy the most, is the woman in the mirror. We can never forget that it is absolutely right to forgive ourselves when we blow it – again. And, it is crucial that we remember: we are more than our worst mistake.
Author Debbie Macomber created three characters who appear in some of her Christmas stories. Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. They are a wacky trio of angels sent to earth by archangel Gabriel. They help some wayward soul find her/his way back to who they are meant to be. The person God intends for them to be, so they can do the work he sent them to do.
If there is ever a movie made of those books, I want to play the role of Mercy.
First, because I think a slightly cocky, often funny middle-age black woman should be in every movie! And also because I have been shown so much compassion and forgiveness in this life. Maybe that is the best reason of all.
The closing scene of the movie would be Mercy (me!) sitting at an antique desk. The camera would pan to the papers and pen scattered on the desktop. Mercy picks up the pen, thoughtfully tapping her chin with it. With a mischievious smile she writes, “Gabriel, you were correct, as usual. Shirley, Goodness and I just needed to remind her, and she finally understood. Her life wasn’t about what she could get, it was about what she could give, both to others and to herself. You can thank us later. Love, Mercy.”
Hey there friend! Andrea McCaskey here. I believe everything happens for a reason, life is meant to be lived in relationship with others and there is beauty to be found everywhere if we look. I am a friend of God, wife of Jamal and mother of Brandon and Madison.
To read more of Andrea’s Breath on Paper bio, click here.