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The Teachings of Jesus No. 5

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

There is a story out of the days of Napoleon when the mad genius was plowing through Europe with fury. In the midst of battle one of his soldiers, just a boy really, was caught running away. Napoleon sentenced him to death. The young man’s mother pleaded for a hearing before the Emperor. When it was agreed, she told the Emperor the boy had been frightened, was too young to understand all that he was fighting for and against. She asked for mercy. Napoleon said the soldier had deserted his post, had betrayed his country, and left his comrades in danger. He said he did not deserve mercy. The woman said, “But your Eminence, if he deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy.” Can we show mercy to Donald Trump? Can we look beyond his bravado and outrageousness to see the pretender he is? A frightened and insecure man operating from a deep need to be approved, praised, and loved. A man who can, in limited capacities, show love to others. Can we be merciful to Hillary Clinton? Can we accept the wounds she carries, the betrayals of love, the belittling of her womanhood and acknowledge her impressive skills of intellect, courage, and loyalty to her family? What about Ted Cruz? Can we listen to his sanctimonious lectures and with mercy hear a man manipulated by a bullying father? And Bernie Sanders. Can we show him mercy? A plain spoken and at times brusque man from simple beginnings. A man driven by a sincere, passionate social vision that is inclusive and just even if it may be idealistic or unattainable in a craven, materialistic society. Can we see in these flawed people a good heart? Can we accept their humanity? Mercy allows that. ~ TM

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