Verbal jabs – strategically placed. My two littlest have their technique down.
Jab. Jab. Upper cut. Jab. Jab. Down low.
I want a little mercy – with each other – for me.
“Guys!” I exclaimed, exasperated, inner explosion building in reds, blues and bright whiteness.
They pause. No malice in their eyes. Surprised. I don’t know why they’re surprised. Moms do not like their children beating up on each other, verbally or physically. It rubs counter to our nurturing nature.
“But, Mom, this is what brothers do,” said the older of the two.
“Yeah, Mom – that’s what brothers do,” the second one chimed in.
I’m crying Mercy, though – wanting them to stop the arguing, stop the pinning this mother’s heart to the ground.
The Mercy came a few hours later as the older one was studying with the younger for a Latin quiz – one brother reaching to the other.
Lots of things in life try to pin me down – brotherly antics, challenges in the daily – as little as kitchen sink pile ups to mis-perceptions, to important things not turning out the way I want, to the unintentional and the intentional good and bad of 9-to-5 and 5-to-9.
Sometimes, life pins me down, and I cry out for mercy. Not for mercy from the bully – No! Never giving in to the bully! But giving in to God. When I release that Mercy call - He un-pins me, lifts me up, helps me shake off the struggle – and settles me into the shade of His protection.
Mercy is one of those words I’ve struggled with – linguisticly. What does it really mean? Just church stuff? God’s mercy – what is it really?
One morning, years ago, I heard Joyce Meyer’s describe it this way: “Mercy is the stuff you give to people that don’t deserve it.”
The visual semantics took it from a lofty church word to a real living word – and I knew God better because of it.
I understood people not deserving. I understood me not deserving even more.
My favorite dictionary (1828 Noah Webster Dictionary) provides depth to Mercy. That’s what I love about adjectives – they’re like color swatches revealing a colors’ perimeters. Mercy – that benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender.”
Tenderness? for my little verbal pugilists?
You betcha! In a heart beat!
Benevolence? Wishing one well? To last year’s bully in the bathroom?
Working on shrinking those pause moments before I say, “You betcha!”
Overlook Injuries? Whether real or perceived? That leave my spirit momentarily knocked out, bruised or bleeding?
When the breath comes back into me, even before the stun and hurt ebb away – I cry Mercy – and He unpins me, lifts me up, settles me in the shade of His protection. He collects every tear in a bottle He keeps – and in the giving to me of His mercy, I learn how to give it.
Overlook injuries? In the shadows of His love, you betcha. I’m not sure how I would be able to do that without Him, though – and that’s why I cry Mercy.
I’m wanting to live Mercy - just as I want those who I walk with in my journey – whether the stranger in a car, the grocery store, friends and acquaintances, my family, my children – oh, yes – how I want my children – and husband to live Mercy in regards to me. How I want them to overlook the injuries I give, whether real or perceived, unintentional or not. To look on me in tenderness when I’m not who they want or need me to be. To wish me well – and live it.
The daily pins me. Sometimes I pin myself – and I cry for Him, for His loving, championing Mercy that frees me and pulls me to Him, to rest in the shade of His love.
“I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”(Matthew 5: 44-48)