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Can I Show Mercy?

by Jennifer Mobbs  
6/06/2015 / Testimonies


I have always been told there are two sides to every story. I am sure everyone can to relate to that, all you have to do is remember when you were a child and got into an argument with a sibling over a toy or a piece of cake and your parent stepped in and explained to you why each person had their own reason that toy or cake belonged to them. I can remember having a terrible fight with my best friend who lived next door. Later on that day she left me a note on the front step of our house, which I read and promptly tore-up into tiny pieces and threw it away. I said nothing to anyone about the note. Of course, my nosey brothers took the note out of the trashcan and taped it back together and gave it to our Mother. Now, the note was very mean and she said some horrible things in it, as ten-year-old children do some times. My Mother came to me with the taped up note and asked me to forgive her and show her mercy like God showed us mercy. I have to admit I was surprised, I thought she would tell me never to speak to her again. Instead she wrapped up a plate of cookies and told me to take them to my friend and tell her I was sorry and that I forgave her for the fight and the note. Well, it has been over 40 years since then and we are still best friends. But what about bigger challenges, what about things that happen that actually damage you as a person? How do you show mercy and forgiveness when those things happen? Especially in our society where there are certain things that are considered so aggress, so horrible that we have deemed them the worst of all sins possible, where do you go then for mercy? Our laws give different penalties for different crimes. Stealing gum from the candy store is obviously not considered as bad as holding up a gas station with a gun for money. We have a very complicated system to deal with crimes of all sorts. We also have a very complicated social system that forgives and dispenses mercy based on who you are and what you have done.  Often times the "who you are" overrides the "what" you have done. We all have seen it many times. However, for the regular people we have to deal with life as it comes and trying to make our decisions about forgiveness and mercy ourselves has taken us down a very, very wide path. God gives us ways to deal with each other when one has committed a sin against another. But unfortunately, we have gotten in the way of that, we have decided that we know best not God. But God never intended us to make these determinations ourselves, we were always to use His Word and His Laws to live by. There are answers to every single question we have; we simply have to read to find the answer. There is not a single one of us that would survive had it not been for the mercy of God, He desires that all would be saved and not a single one perish. He sent His only Son to die on a cross, to bear our sins so that we may be united with Him forever. He has shown us Mercy without merit on our part. What I have learned about mercy after all these years of living is finally becoming the very best part of me. Since we know we cannot do anything to deserve God's Mercy, why then should someone who hurts us, intentional or not, receive any less from us, except the for the fact that we are very human. We can go to God and ask Him to help us extend the same forgiveness and mercy to others. This leads me into something that happened to me at the very awkward age of fourteen. I was five foot eight inches tall and about one hundred and five pounds. Nothing I did was graceful or flowing. I spent a lot of my time slouching down to try and fit in with all the other kids instead of towering over them. I would have never imagined myself as runway model gliding around in a fashion show; I am quite sure I would have tripped on my very first step and fell flat on my face. I actually prayed that God would make me shorter somehow; I do not think my parents had any real idea about how awful I felt about myself. My brothers were several years older them me, as such I was not allowed to hang around with them when their friends came over.  I had no interest in my brother's friends, I did know some of their names and of course their best friends I knew. But aside from that I had very little interactions with their friends. I cannot tell you what I was wearing that day; I believe it was probably jeans and a tee shirt. I also do not remember the time of year, I remember it was very nice outside, warm, but not hot. I was in the eighth grade then, and I was walking home from school. I always walked the same way; it was almost two miles to my house from the school, so I liked to take what I thought were short cuts. I would walk between two houses, the same two every day. I had no idea that my older brother's friend had been watching me and knew which way I walked home. Our schools were separate but not far apart. When I reached the short cut, he was waiting for me, I didn't even see him until he grabbed me from behind. I was on the ground in an instant and he was on top of me; I remember the grass, it was very soft and it smelled fresh cut. I remember looking up at the side of one of houses and seeing the light beige brick and a very small widow. He was a senior in High School and much larger than me, but I was not easy to hold down. I began kicking and fighting. As he would grab my arms to hold me down, I would push against him kicking my feet. Someone was laughing and making noises, but I do not remember who was saying what, I guess it was the sounds of struggling that I hear in my memory. I seemed to be looking down watching instead of being there. My desperate need to escape to get away from him at any cost was almost instinctual. I refused to remain still while he grabbed me and tried to take what did not belong to him. I remember feeling red hot pain in my arms, like someone had twisted them. He finally let me go, as it was obvious I was not going to cooperate. I don't remember getting home. I was just there in my house and I ran into my brother's room and in a hurried panic I told him what had just happened. He said he would take care of it and that was all. I never told my parents and I didn't speak of it again until a few years ago. I pushed it out of my mind and I went back to school, but I did not walk home that way ever again. All these years almost forty I have thought of this person as the lowest form of life. I never really thought about forgiving him and honestly I have never really prayed about it, and I have never prayed for him-my attacker. I finally told my parents a few years ago about what had happened back then and they were very shocked and hurt that I did not come to them; they felt a horrible overwhelming guilt for not protecting me. Of course it was not their fault, and it was not my fault either. Only one person is to blame and I was very good at blaming him. Then something happened just recently, I heard of someone else's experience with somewhat the same thing and I started thinking about the person who attacked me. The thing is this, now, the love of my life is God and I want to be all that He wants me to be. As He increases within me I must decrease, because that is what this is all about. So I began to wonder what if my brother's friend had never attacked anyone before me or after me. I wondered, what was his side of this terrible story and if these past forty years he has felt terrible devastation for what he did to me that day. I wondered if he has been carrying around this sin he committed against me like a sack of bricks on his back, never finding relief or forgiveness. Of course I do not know anything really about this person, but I do know that God has shown me Mercy beyond compare and I have to show mercy to my attacker. The realization washed over me like a clean, cool breeze of forgiveness, I actually wanted to show him mercy and in that moment I felt a release I hadn't know in all the years I have carried this around, hating someone because of what they did to me. I am sure anyone would agree with me in my hatred toward this man. I am sure anyone would see that I was a young naive girl and I didn't deserve what happened to me that day, I didn't encourage it in anyway. But, would anyone agree with me that forgiveness and Mercy are what I should and must extend to this man. Christ died no less for me, then He died for him, I must do this. I want to do this. I believe my extending mercy to my attacker has given me a freedom I cannot explain on paper, but my heart, my mind is totally free of what happened that day and I no longer see this person as the lowest of the low, I see him as someone who sinned, just like me and who God willingly will save, just like me. God doesn't have two sides to His story, because there is only one way to Him and that is through Jesus, the narrow path; but He offers us two precious wonderful things, forgiveness and Mercy. I have chosen those things. I have opened the door and now forgiveness and Mercy can flow where hate once was. For my side of this terrible story, I chose to walk down that narrow path taking another step reaching for my Lord I find through Mercy Him reaching for me.

I have been writing all my life, I just didn't realize it until I was my late 40's. I hope my experiences can help others who have gone through similar trials.

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