Usually we think of healing as a cure, but technically, a cure is a biomedical issue. A disease is cured by medication or surgery; however, a broken bone is cured by application of splints so that the body can “heal” itself. Healing can lead to a body healing physically, but healing can also lead a person to heal spiritually. Healing is a daily practice about making whole.
Being separated from family, whether that family is social in nature or biological, can be frightening. We become angry and we become defensive. We think we don’t need anyone and act belligerent while feeling depressed. We want someone to show us mercy, but we don’t have the courage or the understanding to ask.
Asking for mercy – or offering mercy – is an interpersonal action. We can love at a distance; we can forgive at a distance. But mercy requires us to enter into an interpersonal relationship with another. Mercy can’t be offered or received as an abstract gesture.
I suppose one of the reasons we don’t offer mercy more is that we’re unsure of how it will be received. The other person may reject our offer; they may turn against us in anger.
Mercy is depicted in the “pass it forward” commercials. You don’t know who will see and respond to your acts of mercy. It may be the person to whom you offered mercy and it may be a passing stranger whom you don’t see.
We don’t know how our acts of mercy may affect our world. And that, in the end, may be the lesson. Acts of mercy are simply acts to ease the life of another. No reward necessary.