Thursday, December 8, 2011

Guest Post: Some Thoughts On Mercy

The first comment Amy Sullivan ever made to me was, "Oh, I think we will like each other." That was pretty hard to resist, so I did not even try. I clicked on over to her blog to see what this woman was about. She is creative, feisty, and seeking God's will for her life. I could not ask for more in a bloggy friend. 

Amy's blog is focused on her family's mission to become more "other centered" and less "self centered". Amy is always letting us know about good causes and great projects to participate in. Since I am always wrestling (at least inwardly) with how to show mercy, I wondered if the Sullivan family's experience in serving others had changed their thoughts on mercy at all. I asked Amy to write about it and she graciously obliged. Please show her the same warmth and love that you always share with me.

The beautiful Sullivan Family

The idea of mercy eluded me for years. In my eyes, both giving and receiving mercy were signs of weakness, and I am certainly not weak.

Amy Sullivan, survivor, in control, shiny.

If you are knocked down, get up. If you collapse, get up. If you can’t muster an ounce of strength, too bad, get up.

Does this kind of attitude come from a girl whose lived a charmed life or a girl whose experienced a few too many of life’s horrors?

I’d tell you, but I’m much too shiny.

Then, my world changed. My family decided to stop striving for the next big thing, and instead put our focus on the Real Thing, God.

A funny thing happens when you let God lead. You learn.

Initially, I thought my family was learning about service, but the further we trek, the more I see we are learning about mercy.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
I once read, “Biblical mercy is more than showing sympathy for one of our children who is sick. It’s the response we show to the kid down the street from a broken home who has shattered our garage windows three or four times.”

Mercy is more than feeling bad.  Anyone can feel bad. That’s sympathy. Poor kid, rough life.

Mercy is becoming involved broken windows and all. Poor kid, what can I do?

Question for you: What are your thoughts on mercy? Do you show mercy easily, or do you get stuck at sympathy?

(Great questions, Amy!)


  1. Poor kid, what can I do?--that is the perfect question!

    In fact, that question often draws the line between sinful complaining about the world we live in, and joyously mimicking Christ as he invades the brokenness with hope.

  2. Great thoughts, Amy. A lot to chew on. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Carolyn,
    Thank you so much for inviting me to your place and for the kind intro!

    Thanks too for the topic you encouraged me to write about. I certainly still have much to learn about mercy.

  4. Matt,
    Thanks for reading. I love what you said about "joyous mimicking".

  5. Mary, Mary,
    Thanks for clicking over. I appreciate you, girl.

  6. Amy, thank you for coming. I still have a lot to learn about mercy as well. I'm glad that I'm not doing it alone! xo

  7. well, this is a struggle. but maybe not in the way you first think. "mercy" is tagged as my number one spiritual gift. i have a precious moments figuring that has something to do with mercy (oh, yeah, the nurse called "angel of mercy"). but then i married a cop. cynical to the bone, lacking all empathy. let me just say it's been a journey. i hope a bit of my mercy has rubbed off on him, and he's helped me learn that God calls us to be wise and not foolish.
    and you'd have to be an extreme giver of mercy, i suppose, to even halfway understand where i'm coming from with that.
    sigh. i'm reminded of the fact that i need to spend so much more time on my face seeking God's direction for my each and every step, each and every day.
    thanks for a great "thinker" post, amy!

  8. Oh Amy! You have really challenged my with this post. I didn't really think about it before, but I do get stuck at sympathy. That's for encouraging me to take the next step.

    Many blessings!

  9. Steph,
    Interesting that your husband in cynical and your number one gift is mercy. I think when you live together you learn to take much of the good your spouse has to offer. I think that's interesting. You probably compliment each other? Yes.

    Always enjoy your comments an getting to know you better, Steph.

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  11. Lisa,
    That's a great title for a post, "Stuck in Sympathy". I'm totally stealing it from you! Hee, hee.

  12. As usual Amy, short, sweet, to the point, and convicting!

  13. Beck,
    Thanks for stopping by, reading, and taking the time to leave some encouragement!

  14. @Amy Sullivan
    yep, we compliment each other wonderfully. in other words: he was in need of my mercy, lol :-) and i definitely needed someone to look out for me and protect me. there was a time i was a bit too naive. too gullible.
    over the years, we've both met up and offered the other our strengths. and that is when we became most effective in our marriage and as people.

  15. Can't wait to read Amy's "Stuck at Sympathy" post. Bring it on!

  16. Sympathy? Usually very easy.
    Mercy? A struggle.
    You break my garage windows a couple of times. . I have to fight every urge to lash out at the unfairness.
    Much to ponder.
    Love to you and Carolyn. Who seems like another kindred spirit. Glad you guest posted over here today Amy!

  17. Very good, A. I think I go too far sometimes, so I have to make sure I maintain a healthy balance. I used to let people take advantage, but I have a wonderful husband and an amazing friend who've both helped me strike a healthier balance ;)

  18. Lor,
    Yes, you are one of "those". The people who just get mercy and sometimes give it too freely. That has its major drawback too, but I think you are learning. Big time.

  19. Danelle,
    Thanks for the visit, friend.

  20. Hello Miss Amy! I love you speaking on sympathy verses mercy. Sympathy is a thought, mercy is action....I just love ya and you KNOW IT!

  21. I loved this Amy! And I'm so glad your family picure is above. I feel I know you better :) Beautiful family.
    Blessings to you~

  22. Marlece,
    Good summary: Mercy a thought, sympath an action.

  23. Kristin,
    You know it's funny. I don't think I've ever posted a family pic on my own site! But, yes, I like when people do becasue it makes me feel as if I know them better.

    Thanks for reading, ladies.

  24. Amy, I thought you put a photo up awhile back. No?

    I'm so glad you came over to post. I had never heard the thought that sympathy and mercy were different like that. Great food for thought. I knew I had it right when I asked you to be my first guest! :)

  25. Carolyn,
    I may have put something up, but I usually don't. Most of the time it's just my girls.

    Thank you for allowing me to share a bit of your space here. I've enjoyed it, and I've enjoyed pushing myself to discover how I engage in mercy in my own life.


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