The healing power of God's mercy

THE Bible tells us that a blind beggar sought mercy, as did a father for a lunatic son. Our straits may not be as severe, but haven't we, under stress of disease, pain, fear of punishment, pleaded for mercy? Christ Jesus said, ``Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.'' 1 By Jesus' example, others came to know mercy. The blind beggar asked mercy of Jesus, ``and immediately he received his sight'' and followed in the way of mercy, glorifying God. And mercy touched those watching, for they ``gave praise unto God.'' 2 What kind of mercy is this that includes such healing power and all-embracing effect?

The mercy Jesus expressed derives from Love, from God Himself. Even more than human compassion, it partakes of divine power, of Love's supreme law, which governs all creation in perfect harmony.

Jesus knew the healing power of mercy was of God, not of himself. He was Love's witness, reflecting love impartially to all. This universal impartation of merciful love is a sign of the Christ, which heals, redeems, saves. The Christ-spirit in Jesus enabled him to distinguish the true sense of man from the false, to mercifully separate error from his view of an individual and to destroy the error through the power of ever-present Love. He did this when a distraught father asked mercy for his epileptic son. Jesus did not rebuke the son or the father but the devil itself, which was no part of the boy's true, Godlike selfhood. Such mercy healed him instantly.3

The Christ still turns us today to God's love so that we may be merciful in the deepest and most healing way. Reflecting God's love toward others, we have Christian power to heal and be healed. We don't have to seek grandiose opportunities to express Christly compassion. There are plenty of little daily opportunities with family, fellow workers, church members, strangers, to fulfill the Christly requirement ``Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.'' 4 Being gracious and kind, forgiving as we would be forgiven, is the measure for measure of Christly goodness that enables us to prove our sonship with God. And another's wrong action can't stop the healing influence of our own Christliness.

For some time I desired to know more of God's mercy. I prayed to experience it. Little did I expect what followed. On a cross-country flight I was asked whether I wanted to sit in a smoking or nonsmoking section. I usually request ``nonsmoking,'' but this time, for some reason, said ``either.''

In flight I sat next to a smoking, drinking, racy-book-reading young executive. My first thought was escape, but then I remembered my prayer to know God's mercy. I began to see that mercy looks beyond the outward appearance of incompleteness, impurity, thoughtlessness, to the reality of man, to his spiritual completeness, purity, uprightness, as Love's likeness. As my mental criticism melted into compassion, the young man began telling me of his love for his family and how he hated flying because he missed them so much. Underneath his agitated exterior was an unpolished gem of true manhood. The rest of our trip was a smokeless, drinkless, pure unfolding friendship of shared ideas flowing from divinity. I don't know whether he was healed, but I was -- healed of judging and treating others unmercifully.

The clouds of selfishness and sin melt before love and grace. Destroying sin is merciful. Sin hurts people. God's mercy destroys sin and frees people from its imposition, which is no part of man. Love's mercy and grace, like huge waves rolling over a debris-strewn beach, wash us clean. Love's healing influence, the Christ, cleanses mankind from the debris of guilt, blame, punishment. ``The pardon of divine mercy is the destruction of error,'' 5 writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.

God's glory and power, mercifully reaching humanity through Christ, heal and save. We can bear witness to this power through our daily, hourly reflection of divine Love. 1 Matthew 5:7. 2 Luke 18:43. 3 See Matthew 17:14-18. 4 Luke 6:36. 5 Sci- ence and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 329.

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