But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” … “Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:29, 36-37
Mercy is such an important cornerstone to the teachings of Christ. Upon it everything else develops. Jesus does not call us to be merciful only in the large moments in life, such as the Samaritan was to the robbed man. He calls us to act as neighbor to every one of His children at all times. To show someone mercy in the everyday is to recognize their humanity, their flawed self and simultaneously see Christ in them as well.
Jesus instructs the lawyer to go and show mercy. Who was he supposed to be showing mercy to? His neighbor, who he is to love as himself. But, as the lawyer asks, “… who is my neighbor?” According to Jesus, our neighbor is everyone we show mercy to. I would venture to add this includes everyone we can show mercy to. As we are capable of showing some degree of mercy to nigh every person we come in contact with, it seems we are meant to do exactly such; show all of humanity mercy to the degree we are capable of.
Little mercies in a day can make the day go from painful to wonderful; from hurtful and feeling unbearable to giving a sense of connection. I have had a day where I thought nothing could go well turn the corner to feeling strengthening by as little as a supportive comment from a friend. This is what I mean by the “little mercies” in daily life. We don’t need to buy an injured man a room for the night, or cover someone’s bills, to give mercy. A helping hand, a smile to a stranger, try to do something small every day. Possibly multiple times a day. Then, when the chances for larger offers of mercy arise, we will find them easier to jump to. We have, in the little actions, trained ourselves to treat others as our neighbors. We have been training ourselves all this time to recognize Christ in everyone.
How do you show mercy in your daily life?