I always thought I was generally merciful; after all, I usually give people a second chance to prove themselves when they have failed at work. I do forgive, most of the time. I usually give the street kids, especially those who wipe the windscreen a few coins. I could think of so many things I have done that would show I am merciful.
But that was until a Bible study meeting I had about a month and half ago.
If you attended Sunday school religiously, or read your Bible frequently, you will remember the sermon that Jesus gave on the mount, where he talked about the beatitudes.
I had read that passage many times but somehow the meaning had never really sunk in, until last month. One of those that stood out for me was about mercy. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy,” Jesus said. What I learnt that day was that Jesus was exhorting us to be just as merciful as he was.
And my word, was Jesus ever so merciful; to the prostitutes; the cursed in the community like the lepers and tax collectors (he even made one his disciple!); people he did not know personally; those who were mad and demon possessed; people not of his tribe; people who did him harm – like the soldier who had come to arrest him, whose ear Peter cut off but which Jesus restored; his close friends who betrayed him and so many more.
Everywhere he walked, he spread love and mercy.
After that Bible study, I had to re-think my ways. I have not been as merciful as I should have been. There was for example, that stubborn intern who kept flouting the rules. Should I have shown him his wrong ways? Yes. But should I have made stinging remarks, embarrassed him in front of his fellow interns and gloated in his humiliation? I believe not.
I am not always merciful to the children. Sometimes I allow my tired self to blame them for each small thing they do. I justify my actions because I am their mother and they need to be disciplined. But should I be doing that?
Can’t I tell them to behave in a calmer tone? Can’t I forgive their misdeeds and focus more on their positives than negatives?
Can’t I be nicer to the maid?
Sure, she broke a lovely plate and it did make me slightly angry. But wasn’t it I the other day who broke a similar plate accidentally, just like she did? Why couldn’t I be more understanding? Can’t I be nicer to the colleague who is frantically looking for any amount of money for their wedding? I might not know them so well to even call them a friend, but I can certainly spare Shs30,000 instead of using it on something else I do not really need.
There are many moments in which to be merciful, every single day or hour.
If I call myself a Christian, I am saying I want to be Christ-like, and unless I do the things Jesus asks of me, however hard, or foolish they might seem in the eyes of anyone else, then I am deceiving myself.