By definition the word mercy can mean the following...
"An act of kindness, compassion, or favor"
"The disposition to be compassionate or forbearing"
"Something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing"
"The discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishement"
"Compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence"
These are all things I freely give in any situation. But what about times that mercy might not fall into one of these categories. What about when that guy on the freeway cuts me off because he didn't get over in time to exit? What about that person in front of me in the express line that has 30 items instead of the 15 they are supposed to have? What about the person who walked into a door in front of me and lets it slam into me? What about the person who comes and gets at the front of the line when you have been standing in line waiting for 30 minutes... or longer? What about, you fill in the blank.... There are probably hundreds of other scenarios you have been in, in which mercy was the last thing on your mind.
But what has hit me hard is that I'm not only called to show mercy to those I know are in need but also those who may seem harsh or just down right rude. I admit, the worse time for me is when I'm behind the wheel of a car. Let's face it, it just seems like some people are horrible drivers and just don't care who they cut off or almost sideswipe. We've all been there. But I also know there have times when I myself have been "the other driver". The one who probably cut you off by accident. I may have been the one that was preoccupied and let the door slam on you without thinking about it. And in thinking about those times, sometimes it's not because I am intentionally not paying attention, it because something heavy is on my mind.
Could it be that when I am frustrated with someone else because I think they are not paying attention that maybe they have something weighing them down as well? Maybe that guy that just cut me off on the freeway just got a call about an emergency in their family. Maybe that person in the express line with too many items is a single mom who has been working all day and is trying to get some food for her kids before she is late to pick them up at day care and charged extra fees. Maybe that person who let the door slam on me is someone who just got some horrible news and they are paralyzed with what they've found out. It could be any number of reasons.
We've all been in these frustrating situations. I know it's frustrating even maddening when things happen especially when you are driving. But my goal for this week is to try and extend mercy in every situation... including those that happen on the freeway, in a grocery line, through a closing door, etc. And if I can do it this week, then it can become a pattern. I need to remember that while there are some rude people out there, most people are not intentionally rude. And you know what, even those who are rude may be that way because they have never been shown mercy.
We cry out to God asking him for His mercy on a regular basis. We cry out to God knowing that He is there and will grant us mercy... regardless of our situation. We cry out to God asking Him for His mercy to protect us. We cry out to God when we are in agony asking and begging Him for His mercy. Are we as willing to extend mercy as often as we are asking God for His mercy? My goal, is to try and show mercy always... because Mercy Always Triumphs Judgement!
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,
because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.
Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:12,13