“There is a God, there always has been. I see him here, in the eyes of the people in this [hospital] corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him… there is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He will forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years, forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity only to turn to Him now in my hour of need. I pray that He is as merciful, benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is.” Khaled Hosseini
I was looking up the word mercy the other day and discovered so many words attached to it that it surprised me due to their different meanings like the words kindness, understanding and generosity. We might ask ourselves what does generosity have to do with mercy. Of course if you forgive someone who may not deserve forgiveness in most peoples’ eyes, so perhaps you have bestowed mercy in a generous way. I had to think about it for a long time.
There are those people who seem to constantly require our forgiveness and we are not always in the mood to be so generous or sympathetic which are words for mercy. Extending mercy is right up there with forgiveness. It isn’t easy and can be impossible on certain days or situations. On the other side mercy and forgiveness can be extended on the most impossible day or situation if we see beyond our own pain and witness the hurting situation of another person.
Likely we are not always aware when we cause pain to others. We haven’t walked in the shoes of a lot of people. To us in can appear that they are lazy, stupid, unkind and mean. Understanding their inner turmoil of unrest takes a lot of our time yet it is worth it. Even if we can’t fix their issues we can understand which is also a definition of mercy.
Sometimes people don’t have the words for their pain like a toddler who can’t explain a situation beyond their comprehension. At times we only have our emotions which fire out of control. That will render us little sympathy. (Another word for mercy)
Dan Skognes stated that, “Your greatest pain can give birth to your purpose.” If you think about that you understand how simple and complex that is. Many times we comprehend what another feels only by experiencing it ourselves. The impact ignites our desire to shout this knowledge to the world especially when we are surrounded by those who don’t get the core of the pain.
I believe that many times hurting people just want to be understood and acknowledged. They want us to see and understand or show mercy. The depth of one’s pain cannot be explained because we all experience situations in our own way. However the reality is honest and the hurt others endure can be lifted somewhat and released. The hurt will be remembered at times but sharing it with others might dilute the pain.
On any given day we can extend mercy. It doesn’t cost us anything but a few words or simple act. The gift of compassion or mercy is beyond measure and can set a person on a new path of love and life. I equate it to picking someone up from the floor. When they find love and relief they let go of anger and fill themselves with love. That is when they can offer it to others and teach them how to let go of the negative by forgiving or showing mercy. That is also the point at which they might become the teacher rather than the rejected crushed unthinking or unfeeling person. Their pain becomes a beacon to those who give pain without thought and those who are trying to resolve their pain.
My own childhood pain led me into teaching and working with children in need. I went back to college as an adult and got my undergraduate and graduate degree and certification in regular classroom instruction and special education. I blocked out most of my traumatic childhood but had an affinity for abused kids which I didn’t understand where it came from. Writing the book Tumbleweed Kid which will be published in the somewhat near future, came from the experiences of my classroom years of instruction as well as my own childhood.
I must admit my first copy of the book which is unavailable was anger and frustration at the parents. As I understood my own pain which was interfering with my sympathy or mercy I began to rewrite the book. I have forgiven but the pain of childhood caused me to be intuitively aware of the feelings of kids and basically all people I am with. The sensitivity is sometimes overwhelming because I can’t let it go so easily.
I worry about what I say and do so as not to offend anyone but of course it happens anyway. Now I tell myself if I have done so and know my intentions were never meant to hurt then I let go of any guilt. It isn’t easy but it helps.
I’m all about relationships which get so muddled from insignificant issues. We just have to try to understand more with our hearts and stop analyzing so much in our heads. Even if you had a difficult childhood of any degree you can alter your own way of parenting. You can accept your pain and hurt but go down a different path. Have mercy on yourself and do better. Think about the kids and their kids etc. How many lives you will improve with your transformation. Understand where your anger is coming from or where your parents’ anger came from and resolve the issues. It isn’t easy but a conscious effort makes all the difference.
I never understood why I would freak out if my husband wanted to even slap the kids. I don’t believe in spanking. I suffered when the kids at school told me home stories of suffering and pain. In the end I faced my own childhood issues and the problems in today’s home environments and hope to spread the idea of a better way of disciplining kids which begins with love first. Disciplining with love works the best. Parents are not bad just unaware of the damage they do when spreading anger fear and bullying. If society wonders where it comes from just check out the home environments of some children. We hate to look because it isn’t pretty and we don’t have the answers.
Now the courage is necessary if we want to change the world for the better. Stop blaming others and look inside yourself for the answers. Don’t hate yourself instead put the energy into changing yourself to a more merciful person. Don’t forget what the definition of mercy means!
“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” Abraham Lincoln
“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. (Psalms 116:1-2 NIV)” Anonymous
“The world will give you that once in awhile, a brief timeout; the boxing bell rings and you go to your corner, where somebody dabs mercy on your beat-up life.” Sue Monk Kidd
I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy. Og Mandino
“The Lord’s mercy often rides to the door of our heart upon the black horse of affliction.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Night is a time of rigor, but also of mercy. There are truths which one can see only when it’s dark” Isaac Bashevis Singer