The other night, I left my books outside in the rain. Lying in bed, I could hear the thunder and see the lightning. I was in that twilight kind of sleep, where the cares of the world don’t seem quite as big. Even the possibility that my books and my planner were being pelted into pulp wasn’t enough to stir me out from under the covers.
In the morning, H presented me with my soggy copy of “Just Mercy” and my soaked and squishy planner. Remember my planner? That afternoon, I made my way back to Target, and picked up a different planner, because that thing has come in handy! I was able to make out most of what I’d written in the first planner, so I transferred what I could into the new one.
But, my copy of “Just Mercy” was a different story. I popped it into the microwave and, between two-minute stints on the slowly turning platform behind the microwave window, I took out the book and tried to peel its pages apart. I needed to find the parts I’d underlined. I didn’t do a whole lot of underlining in that book, but the parts I did underline were worth rescuing.
Eventually, I was able to make out the parts I’d marked. They were the sections that looked as if someone had dotted fuschia-tinted watercolors over them — more water than color. I need to remember those pink-stained words. Especially these: “Mercy is most empowering, liberating, and transformative when it is directed at the underserving. The people who haven’t earned it, who haven’t even sought it, are the most meaningful recipients of our compassion.”
I mean, seriously. Mercy is defined as, “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” Let’s do that today, okay? Let’s be merciful, especially to those who haven’t earned it, and aren’t even looking for or expecting it. Isn’t that a crazy idea? Isn’t it crazy enough to give it a try?
Some questions for you: Who are the people least deserving of mercy in your world today? How can you transform the power you have to punish or harm them and extend mercy, instead? Who has extended mercy toward you?