From The Family Virtues Guide


Justice is giving people what they deserve. Mercy is giving people more than they deserve. Mercy is a quality of the heart. Being merciful means to treat others with compassion and forgiveness. When you are being merciful, you are willing to forgive when you have been hurt.

Being merciful is being willing to start all over, to wipe the slate clean of all mistake or hurts and give people another chance.

Mercy means you feel for someone who is suffering and do something to help them. When you practice mercy, you are giving other the gift of your tenderness.


Without mercy the world would be a very harsh and cruel place. We all make mistakes. Without mercy we would be punished for every mistake, even if it was an accident and we didn’t mean to do it. Without mercy we would have to earn every good thing that came to us. People would stop before doing something kind and loving and say, “Hmmm. Do you really deserve this?” Without mercy, when we hurt someone, we would never get a second chance.

When we practice mercy, we give each other another chance when we make a mistake or do something hurtful. We forgive each other, and the relationship is not damaged forever.

When we are merciful with each other, it comes right back. Instead of showing love and kindness only when someone has earned it, we just go ahead and love each other. Mercy brings a gentleness which makes us feel safe with one another.


To practice mercy, it helps to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Especially when they do something that hurts or bothers you, you can think about how it feels when you do something wrong and how you wish someone else would treat you. Being kind and forgiving when someone has made a mistake, especially if they didn’t mean to, is a good way to practice being merciful.

When you want to be merciful and someone has done something wrong, first you need to decide what would be the just way to deal with it. Then you decide if it would be better (and more merciful) for them to suffer the consequence of their actions or to get another chance. Being merciful when someone realy needs justice in order to learn doesn’t really help them.

You can be merciful to people you don’t even know when your heart is touched by their suffering and you do what you can to help.

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