Mercy is not getting what I deserve. Honestly, when I respond in this manner I deserve to be cut off, for the other person to respond with the same type of tone, or to receive the consequences of my actions.
It's interesting that we always want others to extend mercy to us but we are so quick to provide consequences and judgement to those who have "wronged" or been hurtful to us. It's that egocentric thinking that it's all about me. Instead, as Christ followers, we are called to think of others above ourselves, to humble ourselves and serve others, to extend the same mercy we have received from the Father.
That all sounds good sitting in a pew; it's a lot harder to work out in the messy-ness of life.
Just as you and I have a story, our "stuff," so does everyone else we encounter. Maybe it's the one who checks you out at the store who is barely making the bills, a co-worker who's home life is falling apart, the loss of a loved one, someone on the phone who fields complaints all day, maybe it's your spouse or children (we don't know what they encounter all day long and the deepest parts of how they are feeling).
Instead of being so quick to judge a word or action, instead of being so quick to believe they intentionally meant to be rude or hurtful.....how about responding with mercy and little prayer for their "stuff." "Lord, I don't know what they are going through, I don't know their "stuff" but you do. Please help them through it today." It's that easy to give the situation and that person to the only one who can really bring about change and hope in their lives.
So, today I challenge us all to practice Mercy. His Mercy.....extend ourselves and the Love of Christ to those who are hurting, tired, disappointed and have "stuff" that only He can carry.