Okay, in case you haven’t gotten the idea yet…this book is just amazing! I just finished chapter six. Chapters five and six both deal with the idea of mercy and forgiveness in a relationship. Forgiveness I have…I have a pretty easy time forgiving people (unless you were to put a snake in my bed; that would require some SERIOUS forgiveness.) I’ve always kind of used mercy and forgiveness interchangeably. You know, mercy is bestowing something that is undeserved, forgiveness isn’t deserved, voila! This book questioned that theory in one sentence.
“Mercy can be extended to those who don’t recognize it, whereas forgiveness is most often a transaction between parties.” (pg 98)
In other words, you can bestow mercy without the other person ever knowing! This really hit home with me as I thought about how many times I can just keep my mouth shut and not say anything. For example, my sister has this horrible habit that really bugs me. (And yes, I have her permission to post this.) She forgets to flush the toilet. Often. It drives me crazy because I have to flush and then when I’m done it won’t flush because the tank is still filling up. So, as I was writing this post, I have to use the restroom and I walk in and the toilet isn’t flushed! AGAIN! My instant thought was, “Man, I’m really going to have to harp on her to get her to fix this. It’s so simple; why can’t she remember?” Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of the post I had left just a second before. Oh, yeah…mercy. So I’ve decided to show mercy on this point and not mention it. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m just keeping it inside, harboring resentment either. It means that I’m being merciful, patient, and kind toward her.
Does this make sense? In my mind it makes sense but I’m not sure my thoughts are flowing well onto the keys this time. It’s so easy to miss the point of mercy in two different ways:
1. By burying it deep inside and letting bitterness take over and
2. By becoming proud in your heart about how many times you’ve shown mercy to another without them knowing.
I think mercy has a kind of gentle humbleness about it. Realizing how much mercy you’ve been shown by the Father and letting that flow out of you to others. And it doesn’t have to be about the ‘big’ things in life
It can be as simple as someone not flushing the toilet or any other pet peeve you may have.