M for Mercy

I have no book to review today that starts with the letter “M.” I’m working on one for next week’s “S”-ignment that should definitely fill the bill, but in the meantime let’s muse about mercy.

It’s easy to think of mercy on a grand scale – the Roman Emperor “giving” life to defeated combatants and knights allowing a worthy rival to live. God’s mercy that forgives the sinner, and the mercy we should show to those whose powerlessness places them within the “appropriate” sphere for consideration.

It’s equally easy to overlook the smaller mercies we so often fail to give – not from rudeness or evil intent, but from lack of awareness that mercy (or kindness, if you prefer) is involved at all.

How many times have you insisted on rights that really weren’t important in the long run? Yours to demand, and maybe even justified, but unnecessary all the same. How many times have you considered the person put out by your demands?

How many times have you shown mercy in a little way when it wasn’t required of you?

All it takes is keeping your eyes open to the world around you and not focusing just on your own desires. When it rains, push the groceries to your own car so the clerk can stay inside and not get wet. If an assignment isn’t needed right this minute, don’t force someone else to get it done today (especially if the only benefit is the knowledge that it was done early). Give the benefit of the doubt to an honest person who falls on hard times and smile at someone you didn’t owe it to. A kind word to a stranger can make the difference in a person’s day, and a kind word to a loved one who didn’t expect it goes much farther than those rights you could have insisted on.

Try it and see.

Your challenge for the weekend: show mercy, act kindly, and smile at someone who needs it. M is for mercy – the small ones as well.