Mercy and Thanksgiving

It’s been such a heavy few weeks for me.  Tiredness and a sick family.  Weighty decision followed by weighty decision.  Painful ironies, one after another.

The past couple of days have been the heaviest of all.  After truly exhausting ourselves financially and emotionally to help someone, we have had some crucial decisions to make and actions to take.  It hasn’t been easy, but we have tried to have kindness and compassion during the process.

We have had tremendous sorrow for this person, who seemingly cannot choose to grow or change.  We have had the weight and sorrow for what it has meant for our lives, as well, and the toll it has taken.

After giving so much and exhausting ourselves so much, the pain then was so much greater when we were hated and when we were accused of horrible things by the very person we had tried so hard to help, undeserving though they were.

In some ways, I must admit, it was almost a relief.  The bitter, dark venom was reason enough to sever all help and mercy without any guilt, and to just let the weight of justice fall.

Oh, how easy it would have been.  How satisfying to part of myself.

It’s a long story, and one I needn’t fully go into here.  But somehow Matt and I both felt in our hearts that mercy was the answer.  That compassion needed to have sway one last time.

I cannot describe the feeling I initially had of extending compassion to such an angry, selfish, ungrateful person.  Compassion that could hurt us further, and to a person who certainly did not deserve it.

But in the very moment that feeling came into words, that feeling that this mercy was so undeserved, I was gently reminded by my kind husband of something equally painful, and equally true.

How often has undeserved mercy been extended to me?

Time, time, and time again.

If you read my blog or know me at all, you know that Christ is everything in  my life.  That may not coincide with what you believe, and I understand, but I hope you will keep reading for just a few moments anyway.

My thoughts went to the Savior, who suffered indescribably, unmercifully, excruciatingly, so that I might have mercy.  He, who “sought me when a stranger.”

How many times do I cause Him pain?  How many times in the past have I spurned His kindness and help?  Too many, I am so sad to say.  And yet, He is ever there, ever forgiving, ever merciful.

I am definitely not comparing myself in this situation to the Savior, either to His pain or to His infinite mercy.  However, I want nothing more than to be like Him, to see Him as He is.

And so, once again, mercy, in our own tiny realm of influence, has been extended.  Not because we’re so great and kind.  But because it is Him we serve.

And once again, it has been received with ingratitude and selfishness.  And that is truly, terribly painful.  However, it was what we were supposed to do.  It was what was right and kind.

Why am I writing all of this?  Because my heart is heavy.  Because I want to remember how I feel.

Sound masochistic?

This is why I want to remember: I never want to make Him feel this way again.  I feel like, through this small experience, He has kindly given me a tiny, minuscule taste of what His pain must be like when we are selfish, ungrateful, and angry.  When we seek only for ourselves and do not acknowledge His loving kindness in our lives.

Again and again, He has extended me so much undeserved mercy.

How then can I not extend it to others when I feel I should, even if they don’t deserve it?

(Not that I’m advocating being stepped on.  But we all know what we should do at various times.)

His mercy has given me my life, literally.  It has given me my daughters.  It has given me my best friend, the Love of my life.  And it has again and again given me forgiveness, mercy, and peace.  I want to remember it, and be thankful this Thanksgiving week and always.  He has been my kind Friend, in my darkest hours and my most joyful days.  That is why I want to be like Him, and to thank Him.

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