It is a common human problem; we want the other fellow to be the bigger person, the wiser person so we can have an easier time of doing the right thing. But, of course, that doesn’t work because the other person is wanting the same thing from us!
I recently read a list describing attitudes and mind-sets that are common among prisoners and the criminally inclined. They had a common theme: “If only I had it as easy as the other guy I would be a better person too! But I have the right to ignore laws I find inconvenient as though they don’t apply to me, because my comparatively horrible life has given me the perfect excuse to be wholly oblivious to the pain my actions cause others.”
It is a rare and delightful person that does not have at least a little of that perspective, but the more pronounced, the greater the struggle for us to take that step needed to embrace a more productive and less self-destructive life.
So I have been thinking of this reading from Matthew 5:7 “Great blessings belong to those who show mercy to others. Mercy will be given to them.”
I believe that we must open our hands to give mercy which then makes room in our fists to receive a little mercy – not because God’s Mercy is miserly or narrow, but because we are miserly and narrow in showing mercy. It becomes a dance of blessings where we show a little mercy and experience more mercy so we show a little more mercy and again experience even more mercy, swirling around the dance floor of life learning ever so slowly at first and then with increasing energy and passion until we rush in the waiting arms of our Lord, freed from the chains of harbored wrongs. We have a Lord who longs to heap healing and restoration and joy into our lives, showing us Mercy beyond anything we can even comprehend, much less feel worthy of. And God is so very patient even as we are so miserly in the early steps of the dance.
So today let us listen to God singing to us and take those first tentative steps as we pry our fingers open a little, letting the fear drop away, making room for more mercy in our lives – mercy shown and mercy received. Let us dance with increasing abandon, the dance of mercy.