Mercy is defined as compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
Today my heart unexpectedly broke as I watched a bus driver drive past multiple stops, refusing to let a passenger off. First, let me say that the driver was not at all in the wrong. We were on a limited bus which meant that the bus would only stop at a limited amount of the regular stops (this service is coveted during rush hour). It was snowing outside and there was a man who wanted to get off at a stop where he expected the bus to stop. “Officer, I mean Driver, can I get off?” the man called from the back of the bus. The bus drove for another five blocks before the gentleman decided to walk to the front of the bus to ask the driver to stop the bus. We were at a red light, stopped directly in front of a bus stop, behind the local bus, and the gentlemen asked the bus driver if he could be let out at that stop. I was unable to hear the conversation between the two men until I heard the bus driver yell, “what, you can’t read or something? This is the limited bus, how are you going to tell me where to stop?!” The gentlemen took a few stops back and didn’t say another word. I watched as we drove several blocks pass where the gentleman needed to disembark. I looked out of the window at all of the snow that was falling from the sky. This man would have to trek back, in the opposite direction, in order to reach his destination. My heart broke and all I could think was, why not just let him off?! The snow was rapidly falling and the sidewalks were not cleared. All the bus driver needed to do was show a little mercy. There were plenty of times when traffic had caused us to come to a halt at one of the bus stops for the local bus, however, the bus driver refused to show the gentleman mercy. My heart continued to break. When the gentleman was finally able to disembark, he seemed broken. I watched him assess his surroundings and mumble to himself. He looked so defeated standing alone, in the dark, beneath the numerous snowflakes that seemed to beat him up even more. Technically, the bus driver was absolutely correct, he did not have to stop at a non-limited bus stop to let off a passenger who mistakingly boarded the express bus as opposed to the local bus. However, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been merciful and let the gentleman off sooner.
This event made me think of the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor.
Does God’s heart break every time we, the forgiven, refuse to extend grace and mercy to others? Of course it does. There have been a countless amount of times when God has graciously extended unmerited mercy to you and I. Titus 3:5 declares: “he saved us not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy.” Try to be more conscious of your reaction to others. Take a moment and extend mercy to a person you may feel is completely undeserving of mercy.