Thoughts on Mercy

Mercy is not often a word we hear in our everyday discussions. It seems to be an old-fashioned term that has been replaced by tolerance and politically correct expressions. Open the newspaper and there are no stories that encapsulate the meaning of mercy. Instead stories of intolerance abound in which one group insists that they are the ones representing sanity.

For me the word mercy is closely intertwined with the word forgiveness. If one shows mercy, one is often able to forgive the shortcomings of others and their surroundings – including their religious and cultural beliefs. The merciful heart is already open to humanity and is not as judgemental as those hearts that are hardened and show no mercy. The merciful heart is also open to love – love for one’s fellow human being whether the person is a family member, friend or a stranger.

A perfect example comes to mind when I think of mercy: Jesus and the way in which he treated those in society that were often rejected because of their social standing. Think of Mary Magdalene, a prostitute, and the tax collectors he came across. He showed mercy to these people: he opened his heart to them and loved them for the human beings that they were. His actions towards them were not coloured with intolerance, misunderstanding and prejudice.

If we could be merciful towards one another on a daily basis, maybe we could work towards moving to a society that is more merciful. Maybe, once again, the word mercy can become a part of our everyday vocabulary.

What is your understanding of mercy?

(This post was inspired by this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt)