By Debora Coty

 

Not long ago I was paired as a doubles partner in a league tennis match with a gal who was playing for the first time in four months because of a neck injury. She could barely turn her head, so you can imagine how impaired her court movement was.

 

I wasn’t surprised that we lost, but how we lost was an eye-opener.

Once our opponents realized that my partner wasn’t up to par, they intentionally picked on her, relentlessly pounding the ball just out of her reach so that she was forced to repeatedly dive to her bad side, risking possible re-injury.

It was a pathetic display of what life would be like without compassion. Without mercy.

In contrast, the next day I watched my 3-year-old grandbuddy Blaine wrestling on the floor with his 200-lb. daddy. When Blaine was gently manipulated into a pinned position he couldn’t break with his own limited strength, he cried, “Mercy! Mercy!” and his daddy released all pressure and helped him up. The two laughed together and then did it again.

Blaine willingly entered into the struggle knowing that if he got into trouble and asked for mercy, he would receive it because love was present.

What a difference it makes in our behavior, our relationships, our courage when love is present.

According to Webster, “mercy” is, “Compassion shown to an offender.” In other words, not giving someone what they deserve. And why would anyone not pay back what is due to a guilty person? To someone who has hurt you? Tread over you? Disrespected you? Humiliated you?

Only one thing comes to mind: love. The underlying reason why all Christ-followers should treat others with respect, courtesy, and yes, mercy. We receive love from Papa God. We, in turn, must choose to extend it to others.

To everyone, yes, but especially the guilty. The ones who don’t deserve it.

Because even if they’re not yelling “Mercy! Mercy!” on the outside, if you listen hard enough with your spiritual ears, you can hear the cry from a deeper place when Papa God’s love is present in your heart.