At their request, this article was published on the Annapolis Maryland Stake Facebook page on 15 December 2017 in response to the #LightTheWorld campaign.
There are times when I am harsh, direct, unforgiving, and spiteful to my family. Unaccountably, despite this, they continue to bear with, love, and forgive me.
Recently, my daughter penned this note: “Dear Dad, times may be tough, and we all have our struggles in life. Just remember that the good always defeats the bad. Always look toward the bright side of life and not the dark side. If you’re feeling stressed, stop, take a deep breath and relax. Remember that there are lots of good people that are always willing to help you, and that I’ll always love you.”
She did not respond to me negatively. She has gone through more challenges than I ever will, and faces more to come. And yet, even badgered by yet another of my aggravations, she showed mercy. She didn’t yell, stomp her feet, withdraw into a corner, or post online how rotten I was; she loved. I shook my head in amazement and offered a prayer of gratitude and blessing. Her life has taught her lessons I am still trying to learn.
Mercy is showing compassion or forgiveness toward someone you could harm. The greatest act of mercy in eternity is Christ’s atonement for us. Rather than leave us to bear the full consequence of our actions, he paid the price of our sins, a price we could not pay.
Paul says that God saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy (Titus 3:5). Recognizing His mercy inspires us to extend mercy ourselves.
Gordon B. Hinckley said, “There comes a time, possibly many times, within our lives when we might cry out for mercy on the part of others. How can we expect it unless we have been merciful ourselves?
“Mercy is of the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The degree to which each of us is able to extend it becomes an expression of the reality of our discipleship under Him who is our Lord and Master.
“It was He who, while hanging on the cross in dreadful agony, cried out, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34.)
“If we have granted mercy to others, we shall obtain it for ourselves.”
The merciful will obtain mercy.
Picture caption: God showed mercy to to his son by sending an angel to comfort him during the atonement (Luke 22:43).
“Blessed Are the Merciful”, by Gordon B. Hinckley
“The Merciful Obtain Mercy”, by Dieter F. Uchtdorf