What is Mercy?
The definition of mercy is “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm”.
In other words, the opportunity to show mercy is presented when someone wrongs you and you’re in the position of responding to them.
There are many things that you could respond mercifully to. Everyday situations could call for small acts of mercy that you forget not too long afterwards.
But to our Abusers?
Unfortunately for those of us who have been abused, this act could bring up strong feelings of disgust and anger.
How could you be kind or compassionate to someone who has deeply wounded you and may not even acknowledge the pain that they caused?
It’s no easy task.
As someone who has gone through my own experiences of abuse on multiple occasions, I understand. As a Christian, I knew it was the “right” thing to do, but my heart was screaming otherwise.
Questions starting coming up.
How could God let these people go on with their lives without punishing them in some way? Can’t He at least get them to understand how much they hurt me and have them make things right with me?
Unfortunately many times, this doesn’t happen.
But yes, God still calls us to show mercy. Why?
A Perspective Shift
Let’s go back to the time when you began your journey with Christ. None of us were perfect human beings who didn’t need forgiving. What made you realize that you were a sinner in need of Him?
Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
It can be tempting to compare, and think your sins were nothing in comparison to your abusers’.
But before God, all sin is sin no matter how big or small they are. They are all punishable by death and separate us from our Father.
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."
Our God showed and still shows us His mercy. He forgave/forgives us of our wrongs and treated/treats us with kindness and compassion.
Lamentations 3:22-23 "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning."
For all our sins great and small, He still forgives.
And by extending our mercy to our abusers, we are given the opportunity to create an image of mercy that reflects the perfect mercy of God.
There is no right way to do this.
Sometimes it is not safe to communicate with your abuser. Sometimes it’s an inner change of heart as you change the way you view the person and leave them to God to deal with accordingly.
It may not relieve all the pain you’re feeling, but may it lift a burden as you welcome God into your healing and allow Him to do the things that only He can do.