Mercy is a means to a better end


By Jan Davis
Special to The PREVIEW
As I drink my coffee this morning, I find a simple tool to quell inner demons and hurts.
“The man who has mercy will be rewarded, but the cruel man is the cause of trouble to himself.” — Proverbs 11:17.
Other versions of this Bible wisdom read the first part as “the merciful man does good to his own soul” or “his behavior returns to bless him.”
This reminds me. Once I needed someone to be nice to me. They weren’t. I didn’t like it very much. Later I learned to dig up past hurts and wrongs to get a grip on any inner struggles. To explore past hurts as a way to get to something better is fine, but I found living in those potholes was awful. The forgiver of sins and wrongs helped me climb out.
So I learned about mercy; i.e. to cut people slack, believe the best in them until proven wrong and not jump right to payback when deserved. This does my inner person good — the one you can’t see but I have to live with. I can forgive for noble reasons, but also just to make life better. Revenge is hard on both of us.
Being good to my soul is wise. The world is full of sad things, but also wondrous ones. I can be aware of both, but dwell on its beauty. I can forgive myself when needed and know that being a cruel person is one way they are punished for it.
Wise ideas grease the gears of living. There is less friction as I move on to other things. Solomon’s writings on the subject tell me how to manage the part of life I have control over and the scarce assets I have to do it with. I can do mercy. It is a tool in a tool box. Mercy changes me and is a means to a better end.
After all, the people in heaven and hell will tell you they don’t deserve to be there.