A Christian Science perspective: Mercy that blesses the forgiver and the forgiven.
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But I yearned to experience this kind of mercy firsthand, to find out what it takes to forgive in such a way that the slate is wiped clean for everyone involved. It didn’t take long before an opportunity arose. My daughter became pregnant out of wedlock. She made a courageous decision to keep and raise the baby, but was trying to figure out whether she should marry the father of the child. This would seem like a good idea, but for a number of reasons, the couple did not look to have long-term compatibility. It was tempting for me to point out to my daughter why I felt this way in order to help her avoid a marriage that might compound the difficulties of this situation. But I was also praying deeply to feel God’s mercy and to know that there would be compassion and care for us all.Skip to next paragraph
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One day, as I was praying, a new definition of mercy came to thought: “Mercy is having all the evidence to condemn someone to being a mortal, and choosing instead to see them spiritually, as God sees them.” Now that’s mercy, I thought to myself – when you have a pile of human reasons and proof of others’ character flaws, and instead choose to ask God for the divine evidence of their spiritual nature. So I asked God to show me how He saw all involved – my daughter, this dear young man and his family, the baby, and me. And I was overwhelmed by the qualities of God that I saw in each one of us – the attentiveness of the baby’s father during the delivery and after the baby was born, the two grandmothers tenderly giving the baby his first bath, my daughter trusting that somehow she would find work and be able provide for this child. And now it felt clear to me that honoring the good, bearing witness only to the spiritual nature of each one, could bring about the right answer to the questions of how to go forward.
Without my intervening, my daughter and the baby’s father came to the conclusion through peaceful discussions that they were not a good fit for a marriage. And while I could fill a book with all of the mercy that has swept down the 14 years since my grandson’s birth, suffice it to say that both families are still on good terms, and still gratefully holding up their delight in this precious child and cherishing the good in one another.
And these days, well, I keep learning about mercy. I learn from Mary Baker Eddy’s words,
I have made it a goal to do at least one merciful thing a day – to make the choice right when I have all the evidence to condemn someone to mortality, to see instead the spirituality that God is showing me about the individual, including myself. And when mercy goes to the level of divine witnessing, it never fails to bless universally.