Monday, January 22, 2007


Mercy is a term used to describe the leniency shown by one person to another.

Webster's says mercy means "compassion or forbearance shown to an offender."

Sometimes there's a need to show mercy in certain situations.

Once, we were entertaining a houseful of people in our beautiful new home. This house had white carpet (the builder picked it before we bought it). Wouldn't you know, a little boy spilled red punch guessed it...the white carpet. He was an active child, a child who should've been helped with his food from the buffet line to the tables. But he wasn't, and it happened. The mother was mortified when she saw the large red mess on the plush white carpet. She couldn't quit apologizing. And the child started crying then ran from the room.

For a moment or two, it seemed chaos took over. It upset the whole party.

I assured the mother that it was okay, that accidents occur, that he didn't mean for it to happen. She kept apologizing, even cried. I went searching for the child and found him hiding in the study. He was sitting in a corner sobbing into arms propped on knees, so embarrassed and ashamed he couldn't look at me.

I sat down beside him on the floor. "I want to tell you a story," I told him.

"Once upon a time," I began, "a young girl and her family were visiting her older married sister who lived out of town. The older married sister had just gotten wall-to-wall carpeting in her brand new home. The young girl asked her sister if she could borrow the iron. The sister gave it to her and went back to her bedroom to get dressed. The whole houseful was in a hurry getting ready to go to church. The young girl knew her blouse only needed a tiny touch-up on the front. She plugged in the iron in the living room and set it on the coffee table to heat up. She intended to place a towel on the coffee table, make the touch-up, and turn off the iron. The iron heated up, and she knelt to iron but she jarred the table accidentally.

And the iron landed on the brand new carpet.

She shrieked and grabbed the iron. The bottom of the iron now had carpet on the bottom, and the brand new carpet now had an iron-shaped burn down to the jute.

She started crying. She sobbed. Her sister came running and saw what happened. She gathered her in her arms and said, 'You're more important to me than any old carpet. Don't cry anymore. I'll have the carpet man come Monday, and he'll be able to patch it, and it'll be okay. Now quit crying, okay?'

And that young girl was me," I said.

I looked sideways at the little boy. He was looking at me with an intent stare, his tears gone. "It's okay, Joey," I said. "You're more important to me than any old carpet. Don't cry anymore. It'll clean up, and everything will be okay. Okay?"

He flashed me a brilliant smile.



The Bible instructs us to show mercy. Matthew 5:7 says, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." This is from the Beatitudes.

It also says to show mercy cheerfully (Romans 12:8).

Sometimes in marriage, there's a need to show mercy.

It's hard, and it's doubly hard to do it cheerfully.

Have you ever had to do this?

Ever had your spouse...?

Sorry. I can't reveal a real-life scenario. It's my business.

Your mercy-showing would be different anyway, because we're all different.

If you haven't had an opportunity to show mercy lately, get ready, because a situation is coming. Such is life.


Incidentally, toward the end of the party, the little boy was bouncing off the walls of our lanai, and lo and behold, he jerked my screen door so hard, the handle came off in his hands.

The handle to the screen door in my brand new house.


Such is life.


At 8:26 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

But I'll bet to this day, he remembers you and the mercy you extended to him.

Eternal things matter so much more than earthly things. :)

At 11:01 PM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

That's right, Ane. A great way to put it.


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