When You Don’t Have the Gift of Mercy

So, something you might need to know about me: I was born with a mercy handicap.  

Actually, we say that everyone in our family seems to be deficient in the mercy department.  When it was gift receiving time we got ones like “charging the hill” and “being really loud” and “often wrong, but never uncertain.”

Yesterday there was more evidence of the deficiency in my life.

Daughter Maggie who’s in grad school at Berkley has won all kinds of honors and scholarships.  She’s been chosen for organizations with names that sound like Most Brilliant World Dominators of Tomorrow and stuff like that.  But recently there was a big scholarship that she applied for.  Big, as in she and Austin could probably retire on the amount of money they were going to give her.  And she thought maybe she had it.  But then she didn’t.

Enter Mercy Mom! (Maggie is my ICE – “In Case of Emergency” fyi).  My response to her news is in the blue.

photo-12You see what I mean?  There will NOT be a picture of me next to the word “mercy” in the dictionary.

I wish there was a supplemental vitamin I could take, or a minor surgery I could have, but no luck with that yet.

However, like P.T. used to gently correct a crooked back, God has sent me M.T. in the form of Heather.  Heather is my friend who, last week, has received one bazillion anguishing texts, emails and calls from me wringing my hands about my total fail at tech savvy and website administration.

Has she sent me a joke of the day and said “Get over it”?  No!

Instead, I think she remembered what it was like sometime when she was the one in need. And then she extended to me the mercy and comfort she had received.  She was empathic and PATIENT.  Like Mother Theresa for Pete’s sake!  Maybe she was even aware of these verses while she was giving me a hug and settling me down.

God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Cor. 1:3-4

She spoke words of understanding like, “That’s so hard!”  And “You must feel so frustrated!” and “I’m really sorry for what you’re dealing with.” But more important than the words, her heart was totally there too.

And she didn’t just say the words with the heart, she rolled up her sleeves and actually got inside my computer and Fixed Almost All The Things!  Mercy is born out in practical help.

If all that wasn’t enough, after she fixed all the things, she came over to my HOUSE after a long day at work to give me a coaching session!  Like my own private tutorial!  Mercy is lived out not just in words, or heart, or help, but in sacrificial service through patient coaching.

So, I’m learning from my friends who are supplying M.T. and praying that I will be transformed into someone who looks more like Jesus in the mercy department.

What about you?  Is mercy easy for you, or is your idea of compassion a “Buck up!” with a pat on the rear?  







  1. It’s a sign of SOMETHING that I found myself laughing at ‘meanderthal’… familial gift of mercy? Great Reminder that it’s not an emotion but a learned response!

  2. I think you’re right—and I think practicing that which is hard for us helps to make it second nature. I can be a bit lacking in the sensitivity department: I say things I believe are measured with grace, but they are not received well. Even when I was being thoughtful, my words can come off quite thoughtless! I just keep practicing with every opportunity (and running my responses by my ICE—Jon—before replying!).

    • Yes, practice! I’m with you on that, and on (thankfully) having wise husbands we can run stuff by! We’re all doing our best, but it’s a long process this Jesus transformation stuff, so I’m glad we have each other. Cheering you on!

  3. Austin Dannhaus

    October 8, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    I’m going to see if I can find y’all a crash course….

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