Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Got Mercy?

“...and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8b

One day a disgruntled gentleman visited my husband’s office at our mission hospital in Pakistan and pulled him outside to a waiting vehicle. He gave Ed some rough treatment and attempted to push him into the car to take him away. As Ed yelled staff came running from all directions to rescue him. The police came. The punishment for a local person harming a foreigner was stiff. Ed agreed to the police catching him but not to torture him. He only wanted him prohibited from entering the hospital complex for the security of patients and staff. The police found the man within 24 hours and refrained from torturing him. He received mercy.

A three year old girl threw a lead pipe over a high wall which landed on a poor beggar’s head causing injury. Immediately an excitable crowd of Somali men and the police gathered in the missionary’s yard. It was a tense volatile time of accusations flying around wildly. The father took the little girl aside and quietly said, “Daughter, just tell me the truth. Did you throw that pipe over the wall? I won’t punish you. I just need to know the truth.” The frightened girl confessed she had indeed thrown the pipe over the wall. The police and crowd quieted down when they realized it was a young child who had done it unknowingly. Mercy prevailed. But it could have turned out differently - in Somalia.

My mother was dying and I made a quick trip to visit her. My mind, filled with anxiety, was not clear. I left my wallet with all my identification papers at home. At that time a passport wasn't required travelling between Canada and the USA. As I went through security I was asked for some identification. Suddenly I realized I was at the mercy of the security agent as I had nothing to show. Justice meant that I could be turned away. But the security agent said, “I’ll have mercy on you this time.” And with that gesture of mercy I was able to see mom.

In one country where I lived a young unmarried lady who was found to be pregnant could(and still can) expect some scary treatment: be poisoned or disappear, married off against their wishes, shunned, etc. But once in awhile a relative worked mercifully on behalf of saving the young lady and her baby. We would assist by hiding the pregnant mother in her last weeks. When the baby was born I would take care of it until he or she would find a welcoming home to be raised in. Mercy triumphs over justice.

Is there anything more precious or sweeter than receiving mercy? I have drunk from the cup of mercy, both from God and from people, numerous times. Because of being the recipient of mercy I now desire to extend mercy. What a scary world we would live in if mercy was not extended! We feel condemned by justice but transformed by mercy. One of the secrets of a successful ministry among Muslims is to love mercy.

Dear heavenly Father, please help me to become more merciful like Jesus towards Muslims. Amen.