Mercy is Not Just God’s Gift to Give

It is Friday and time to link up with my “Five Minute Friday” friends over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog. The challenge is to write for five minutes on this week’s topic, mercy.

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We have all hoped for mercy in our life at one time or another. It has come up a few times for me, hoping not to be judged harshly for something I said or something I did. At the time, I didn’t even know what mercy meant, but I was thankful for it nonetheless.

In 6th grade I accepted the classroom’s challenge of dropping Alka Seltzer tablets into our teacher’s coffee. He left the room and I can’t even remember who brought them to school, but when the challenge of who would actually drop them in the cup was given, for some ridiculous reason, I volunteered, grabbed the tablets, and operation plop plop fizz fizz was underway.

When the teacher returned to the room {insert “Dun dun dunnnnnnn”} he was furious. Nearly silent snickers came from all corners of the room except for my corner. I was quiet. I was worried. I was pretty sure I may poop my pants. What the heck had I agreed to do? I did not for a second consider the consequences. He did NOT think our little prank was funny and was demanding to know who was responsible.

I slithered down into my chair and became as small as I could become, hoping he would not see me and notice the guilt on my face. When none of my classmates confessed and none of them pointed toward me, I too remained silent. This teacher was smart and he calmly indicated that he would give the entire class the evening to think about what we had done and the person responsible could turn themselves in the following day.

The guilt simmered within me until it boiled over. I was physically ill. My parents were worried about me and asked what was wrong. I bawled my eyes out and confessed my wrong doing to my parents. They encouraged me to think about the right way to handle it with my teacher and expressed confidence that I would do the right thing, pushing all of my guilt buttons perfectly.

Early the next morning I marched my little bell bottom wearing butt into the classroom for what I thought may have been the very last time ever. What was going to happen to me? Suspension? Jail? When you’re in 6th grade, there is no logical consequence. It is the worry of the worst thing you can possibly imagine. And as I mustered the courage to tell him what I had done, tears streamed down my face. I was scared of what may happen, but more than that, I was truly sorry.

Touched by my honesty, he gave me mercy. He very graciously taught me the lesson that my parents had preached to me since I could speak. “If you tell the truth about what you did, you will be punished, but if you lie about it, your punishment will be far worse.” Duly noted.

I can’t recall what my punishment was for my bubbly little stunt, but it wasn’t suspension and it wasn’t jail and everything short of that was just fine by me. My teacher didn’t hate me or make fun of me. He appreciated my courage and honesty even though he clearly did not appreciate the fizz filled cup I had so innocently left for him.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

~ Hebrews 4:16 KJV

Blessed by my teacher’s mercy and grace, I carried that gift with me and it successfully shaped many of my future decisions. That was not the only mistake in my life that I desired mercy for and it probably won’t be the last. We are all human and we make mistakes.

The beauty of mercy is that it is not just God’s gift to us, but it is a gift that we can all give. Think about the mercies you have been granted the next time you are tempted to pass harsh judgement on someone else. You may just find yourself in a position to give rather that to receive, and when you do, I hope you will choose to be merciful.

And for goodness sakes, if you are faced with a moment of peer pressure urging you to plop anything fizzy into anyone’s coffee… just say no!

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4 thoughts on “Mercy is Not Just God’s Gift to Give

  1. Kathleen Caron September 13, 2013 at 8:18 pm Reply

    That’s a wonderful story, as it brings to mind all the times I did something wrong and didn’t suffer the consequences I deserved. I am so grateful for God’s mercy, and the mercy He inspires in those who believe in Him.

    • trisbendickson September 13, 2013 at 8:22 pm Reply

      Thank you Kathleen 🙂 It is good to reflect on our childhood examples of mercy and see how God has worked through the people in our lives. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. claygirlsings September 15, 2013 at 7:25 pm Reply

    Fantastic illustration – and good writing, too! I’m visiting from FMF.

    • trisbendickson September 15, 2013 at 7:26 pm Reply

      Thank you for stopping by and for your encouraging words 🙂

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