When we think of mercy as people, we think of the true definition of the word…. “Compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm”. Wars provide us many stories of acts of mercy, often facilitated by those in dominance freeing or sparing those that have been lead into submission through force or circumstance.
When we think of mercy in the biblical sense, we think of God sparing humans from unthinkable acts of judgment or harm, and from the literature on the subject, it would seem that the church focused on the word ‘mercy’ to alleviate the unbearable fear of hell, and then slowly phased out mercy as an act, as the perception built of God having the power to punish and take life.....a concept that any religious person just can’t associate with a loving God. We want God to accept us just the way we are!
When I think of mercy I think of the Angels of Mercy.....three Angels that protect and enforce justice, with Archangel Michael chosen as closest to God. Muscular, youthful and handsome, St.Michael and his army have defeated Satan and his angels in the great war in Heaven, evil did not prevail, but, nor was a place found for the devil and his slithery, hoofed cohort, so, St.Michael hurled them down to earth, following them with a key, a key to an abyss, and a chain to tie them down. Archangel Michael then sealed them up for 1000 years. What a guy hey? He’s certainly my hero!
Whilst completing this drawing I thought about mercy and how we may be missing something (and I had many, many hours of contemplation! lol). In a world that has become increasingly aggressive and overstimulating, many of us misuse the power or position that we’ve been given (even as parents!)...There is a sense of entitlement and expectation that comes with society currently. I wonder if mercy, if practiced on ourselves first, would create a better world. What if we weren’t as critical or hard on ourselves? What if we had the heart to forgive ourselves more? What if we could not take on board the judgments of others so easily, and embrace our own unique personalities and thrive after trauma inflicted, instead of give in and give up? What if these acts are acts of our own punishment and judgment....and what if all we need to do is do is have the right attitude and make the right choice, no matter what others do to us. What if mercy dwells in the stirrings of the heart of all of us when under unprecedented stress, and what if mercy is something that we need to deliver, and practice, all be it through trial and error? Just like war creates conditions for mercy, is our self proclaimed ‘hard’ life not a war every single day? If we could show compassion, it would come from understanding ourselves first, and then identifying, with the sincerest of empathy the burdens of others. What if one of the greatest acts of mercy we could ever do is just walk away .....
Hall Green, in his article ‘Showing Mercy Is Your Choice’ says... “Mercy is a personal statement you make to others about yourself. Being merciful has little to do with the recipients and everything to do with the one granting mercy. Showing mercy means refraining from giving someone what they might have coming; it means being kind beyond what fairness may demand.”
Isn’t this all food for thought on a rainy Wednesday in the middle of winter? May my version of Archangel Michael give you protection....and may you find mercy wherever you are. Thank you also to all of the people who have shown me mercy in my life. I’m forever grateful.