May. 19th, 2011

Mercy

May. 19th, 2011 06:47 am
krikketgirl: (Clean Dirt)
I was skimming through a book at the library recently, and the gist of the ending was that there were these ghosts who could be harmed by other ghosts, but instead of physical harm it was more an emotional hurt: somehow, the bad ghosts could cause the others to experience all the emotional hurt of things they'd done wrong, times they'd been afraid, things they'd messed up, people they'd let down. The book itself was kind of not my thing, but I was intrigued by this concept.

I struggle with the striving to improve because improvement means being able to look back and see that at one point you were not where you are now. After all, if there is no recognition of need to change, there is no change. It hurts to look back and see places where I slipped, sometimes badly. The resultant resolve to never make THAT particular mistake again feels thin and insubstantial, because I know my propensity for making mistakes is a ravenous and ever-evolving thing. Each day got through may indeed mean one or two less mistakes remain to be made (thank you, Chess), but there seem to be such a plethora to choose from still.

It is through this process, though, that I have learned the importance of mercy. How great a blessing to be surrounded by those with merciful hearts! Mercy is an essential ingredient in relationships. We use mercy when we look at another person and we realize that they are hurting us (or themselves) in ignorance. Obviously, it is best to try to gently clue them in, but sometimes that doesn't work...mercy, then, allows us to love that person anyway, despite their ignorance.

We use mercy when that person comes to themselves, realizes their mistake, and seeks forgiveness. Mercy accepts the apology as something that is special and of value. Mercy allows us to not keep bringing up the old hurts and mistakes.

We use mercy when we allow for a person to change. It is so easy for us, as humans, to cast others in the same category we placed them in at first meeting or first experience. Sometimes, we are still interacting with a person as though they are in the same place they were decades ago--and that is so rarely true! People change for better and for worse, and mercy allows us to keep that open mind; to ask, "Who is this person now?"

Mercy is what allows us to not become like those made-up phantasms, using others' failures as a weapon. Mercy seeks reasons to love, not reasons to dislike. It is mercy that allows relationships to grow beyond mistakes, to be repaired and revitalized. It is an essential ingredient in the human condition.

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krikketgirl

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