I Have a Friend Named Merci
Kathy A. Weckwerth
Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall be shown mercy.”
For years I thought I understood this verse. That is, until I studied the beatitudes and wrote my own Bible study about it. I thought mercy was simply being kind to others. But as I studied it, I found out that the Greek word “eleemon” means the same thing as the English word “merciful” used in Matthew 5:7, “showing compassion to somebody.”
Compassion travels to a deeper level. Compassion means to get inside someone else’s world. It means to truly listen and put yourself in their skin … seeing what they see, hearing what they hear, and understanding what’s happening to them at the core of their being. Do we really show others mercy anymore?
And yet, I think about what happened to me this past fall.
Invited by my good friend to travel out west to a women’s conference, I enjoyed the excitement of the journey, the beauty of the snow-capped mountains, the change of scenery, but the conference produced challenges for me … a stripping of cell phones, makeup, jewelry and time pieces, in order to escape this busy world. And if that wasn’t uncomfortable enough, then a vow of silence was demanded,to provide an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to talk to you.
“Chatty Kathy” was my nickname with my daddy when I was little. Along with that, I served for over 25 years watching the clock during services, serving as a worship director. And I am a true extrovert. This would be painful, to say the least.
Each attendee was shocked with the vow of silence. After all, we are women! And yet we realized something, we could still talk. How? Through our facial expressions. Through our gestures. Through our EYES.
And that’s when I met her. Merci.
A tall, kind, confident, beautiful woman (she didn’t need make up) from Michigan walked past me. I remembered her from when I first arrived at the event and we were still allowed to converse.
Each time I walked past Merci, we would speak in those seconds of time. Not through words, but a glance, a smile, a roll of the eyes, and eventually a whisper here and there. Merci let me know that in my angst to not know what time it was, there was a spot on the thermostat with the time. I let her know in those few seconds … I was going crazy.
When the weekend was at its end, we were allowed to stroll outside and quietly chat. Merci and I walked amidst the chilly day, sun shining on our backs, wind blowing across our faces, and we downloaded life. Quickly, hitting the facts of who we were and where we came from, something happened within those moments. Knowing once we returned indoors there would be no more conversation, we got to the depths of life … hers and mine … very quickly.
I listened. She listened. We prayed.
I heard her heart all the way to the depths of her soul. I saw her needs before God. I listened, really listened.
And in those moments of mountains and breezes, confessions and prayers, I understood Merci. I understood mercy.
Getting past the makeup, bobbles, Ralph Lauren sweaters, Movado watches, and superfluous chitchat, all the way down to the roots of who we are, was the truth about MERCY.
[callout]This is mercy. This is the kind of mercy that Jesus is referring to in Matthew 5, the kind of mercy that crawls inside the skin of another and experiences her feelings, her hurt and pain, and sees from that hurting person’s perspective. It is an attitude that puts on a deep sense of compassion for those around us. [/callout]
I’m calling out to each one of us today. Are we listening? Are we getting past the surface. Are we really hearing other people?
I have a friend called Merci. She reminded me the true meaning of Mercy.
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