Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Snapshots of the Heart ~ Mercy


It's one of those ideas that is hard to grasp and even harder to convey to our kids.  Kind of like  "station wagons", "record players" and "rotary phones".

We recently watched a Cosby Show episode in which Cliff is in the market for a new station wagon.  As the episode unfolded, Brett and I were at a loss as to how to adequately describe this type of car.

"Like our van, only low to the ground.  Large and long.  Kinda like a boat on wheels."

Over the course of the following week, the kids pointed out cars as we drove around town.

"Is that a station wagon?"
"Nope.  It needs to be wider, lower and longer."
"Is that a station wagon?"
"No.  Not boat-like enough."

Quite the automobile enigma!

If we were to pull out the dictionary, we would read that "mercy" means:  compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.

You might notice that "grace" is not included in this definition, and rightly so.  Even though we sometimes use "grace" and "mercy" interchangeably, they are two different concepts, woven tightly together.

In our house we describe is like this:

Mercy is not getting what you deserve.  If you do something wrong, you should be punished, but you are not.

Grace is getting more than you deserve.  In your wrong-doing, not only are you forgiven, but you are also smothered in love.

When we are wronged, we have two options.  We can hang on to the hurt and make the other person pay or we can extend mercy and release the wrong-doer from judgement.  The first makes a prisoner of us both while the second makes us free.  It doesn't mean that we don't feel the pain of that wrong-doing and it doesn't mean that there isn't a consequence for the wrong.  But we are allowing God to be just and, as we learned yesterday, He will make every wrong right.

There is great, transforming power when we extend mercy to those around us.  And we have an amazing role model in the person of Jesus.  His death on the cross was the greatest act of mercy ... freedom from death and eternal life for those who believe.  True mercy.

"May my children always be merciful, 
just as their Father is merciful."  
Luke 6:36

I wrote a post last Fall about the power of mercy and I invite you to take a peek at it:  Mercy Me.


  1. A good perspective on mercy and grace, Morgan.

  2. I love your families definition of Mercy and Grace. Great reminder of how we are to be to others...I have a friend here in town that I need to do that with...well, I have, but we are still working the kinks out.


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