Remember the wrestling game we’d play as a child by holding our hands together with someone else and we’d push back the other person’s hands until someone said “Mercy”? I didn’t think about it then but you were asking the other person to have mercy on you.
If you are a believer in Christ, you know that we often think of the mercy God has for us. I think of the scripture, Romans 5:8 which states: “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
We even consider when we have done something hurtful to someone else, we often say, “please have mercy or grace for me in this area because…….” And regardless of the excuse whether reasonable or irrational, we want people to have grace for us.
The Bible also says “Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12
Mercy is more easily received than given. It’s much easier to say sorry than to offer forgiveness, especially to someone who is not apologetic. To show empathy to someone is to understand and truly feel the difficulty another person is experiencing. It is much easier to show mercy when you are empathetic towards the person.
I have gone through some difficult situations and I recognize the pain and struggle those things have caused me. When I see someone going through hardship, it triggers me to feel that same pain. I have learned to use that feeling to have mercy for that person.
Admitedly, it is easier for me to have empathy for a true “victim”. For instance, a person that was a victim of domestic violence or neglect. I understand that personally and can see they were truly a victim of a wrong committed by someone else. But it’s harder to have mercy on a potential perpetrator. Because we only see the wrong that person committed and fail to understand when they were once a victim.
If we see each person as a whole human being instead of looking at one behavior, we can have a better understanding of their situation and reasoning behind their behavior. This may help us to have more empathy for that person. I’m not saying that we should allow bad behavior, but I am saying that it may help us have a different approach to how we treat that person.
I admire counselors so much, because they see the individual. They don’t see a mean, perpetrator, but they get to know the person and understand the reason behind their behavior. The counselor uses their expertise to analyze and develop a method to help the person become a healthier human being, not just for the sake of themselves, but also the sake of others. As the phrase goes, “hurt people, hurt people”. But a good counselor can help the person heal the hurt, so that person can be healthy enough to treat others in a healthy manner also.
I know that life is messy and we will never have perfect peace here on Earth as in Heaven. However I know there’s always room for growth and opportunities for us to become better for ourselves and others.