Mercy: noun \ˈmər-sē\ Compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power; also: lenient or compassionate treatment
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular– but one must take it simply because it is right.
Whether or not to be merciful to someone is a tricky decision. Many will see weakness if compassion is unnecessarily extended. Granted, extending mercy to someone can be risky, causing that person to think they can always get away with doing wrongful things. But what kind of world would this be if no one ever extended mercy and compassion to others?
Sometimes it’s just not politically correct to show mercy towards another person or group of people. We run the risk of being labeled and possibly publicly ridiculed. And then we’re not on the A-list for future status considerations.
Sometimes it’s not popular to extend mercy. Most of the time, our culture demands revenge. After all, it’s so much more fun to plot revenge against someone who has crossed us than show compassion and try and understand the reasons for the actions.
And, let’s admit it. We all want others to be merciful and compassionate to us, despite what we’ve said and done. After all, we’re only human; we didn’t really mean it. But ask us to be merciful? Well…all of a sudden it’s very conditional, isn’t it?
I think Honest Abe is spot-on with his quote. The true measure of someone’s character lies in how they respond to others when they have the upper hand. Giving someone power over another is the fastest way to show whether they truly know the difference between kindness and meanness; benevolence and intolerance; mercy and uncompassion.
Because, as they say, Karma is a bitch. What goes around tends to eventually come around.
Blessed are the merciful; for they shall receive mercy.
~Jesus; Matthew 5:7
Linking up with ABC Wednesday Round 10