{jcomments on}The quality of mercy is not strain’d

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.


Portia’s speech from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant Of Venice” came to mind when I awoke tonight, so I went online and looked it up. If you’re wondering what was tugging at my heart to bring this specific piece of dialogue to the forefront of my thoughts I’ll need to go back and describe my last week: My sister’s surgery was not a success. Though they managed to stop the seizures, she did not come out of the anesthetic afterwards, nor has she regained consciousness since. It is impossible to describe the loss of personality that has occurred, and even more difficult to discuss the problems that arise when family members disagree on what to do next and why. Life seems to get ugly at that point, and I had only one thing I could do: I cast all my burdens and cares on the Lord, and have let Him carry them, because they have become too heavy for me.


I have heard too many foolish questions this week, like “Why did this have to happen?” I can only interpret that as “Why did this have to happen to us?” Like our family (or any family) should be immune to the inequities of life, and receive a free pass from all pain and grief? The Bible says the rain falls on the just and unjust (Matthew 5:45), and I, for one, am glad that it does. If we were to get what we truly deserved none of us would receive any rain at all, and certainly no mercy. But rain we’ve been given by God, and mercy as well. I take neither of those things for granted while I continue to wait and watch Him do what He does best. The peace that passeth all understanding is not a myth, and between unanswered questions and painful disagreements lies the land of the “twice blest.” It does not matter who gives or who takes, or who is just or unjust; the rain falls on both equally.


It was fitting that it should have rained so long and so hard for the last several days, and it made me look upon that common occurrence with new eyes. I looked upon the quality of mercy with new eyes as well, and it made me wonder what people think ‘mercy’ really is? Webster’s dictionary let me down this time, and I don’t think their description really does an adequate job:


mercy: forbearance for one who is in one’s power; a forgiving disposition; clemency; compassion for the unfortunate


I think real mercy, God’s mercy, is wider and better than that, because the Biblical definition expands to include justice as well. The problem here becomes putting mercy into effect while still including justice, and none of us on earth are up to that job; it’s above our pay grade, so to speak. But when I reached this point I’d found a few questions of my own to ask, and they all involved mercy, justice, and fairness. Is it mercy, i.e. clemency, that desires to keep someone alive at all costs, or are we merely in denial of the inevitable in our compassion for the unfortunate? Is mercy that which holds on and refuses to let go forbearance for one who is in one’s power, or are we simply unwilling to imagine life without that person, and have created our own image of fairness and justice?


For me, I’ve found mercy to be the kind that says “God’s will be done.” Because when we become our own ‘providence’ by ignoring evidence and refusing to listen to unbiased advice, who then is truly in charge? Are medical advances or abilities of a higher priority than God’s will? Though a thing can be done, is it right to do it? And just because it is sometimes possible to keep someone alive on pain medicine and machinery, is it a wise choice? Tonight I am left with only one more question, and it is still not “Why did this happen?”


It is: “What is the real ‘quality of mercy’?”

михаил безлепкин квартиры