Are you a merciful person. Mercy means being kind and compassionate and forgiving. You probably are but maybe not enough? I remember a goofy phrase: It is nice to be nice to the nice. Well, of course it is! It is also very selfish. And it certainly does nothing for you or the other person. Extending mercy really can be a challenge. There are some ornery people out there that extending them any form of mercy might just have it flung back in our face.
Still, Jesus asks us to be merciful. I think Lent is an excellent time to learn to be merciful. Oh, not in the way you are probably thinking, however. Most people know what it is to be kind to others. Most people have compassion for those in need. And from an early age we are taught to say, ‘I am sorry” and learn forgiveness is needed in our lives.
Where we need to grow is in being kind, compassionate, and forgiving to ourselves. Yes, you. Many people struggle with being kind and compassionate towards themselves. How many times have you chewed yourself out for some small mistake? How often have you fretted over saying something that was not appropriate? Or perhaps you have been critical of things you have done and find you cannot possibly forgive yourself because you think no one else will?
Lent means to make a change in your life. Where do you need forgiveness right now? Then start with forgiving yourself. Accept what has been done, make restitution, and resolve to do better. Be kind to yourself and stop beating yourself up.
By being compassionate to yourself you recognize that you are a better person than what you think you are. And know that you are loved. Mercy begins with how you treat yourself.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen