Mercy and hope are two very important foundations of life. In order for us to have a meaningful and profound existence as human beings, we need to have mercy and be able to forgive others as well as ourselves. Only when we can honestly and sincerely forgive can we ever be able to have hope and peace in our lives.
The two Bali drug runners, although not pardoned by the Indonesian government, must have forgiven themselves, found hope and mended their ways to a life of gratitude and generosity. One utilised his creative gifts and the other offered his life to preaching about God's love as a pastor.
And only recently, news of a man (who sexually abused and killed a girl twenty three years ago) whose status has been 'downgraded' to a medium security prisoner (getting new privileges like doing woodwork courses and getting a job in prison) generated a letter of petition to the Premier with 30,000 signatories. His privileges were immediately removed. For him to be downgraded, he must have shown good behaviour in prison that encouraged the decision makers to provide him such privileges. Although he has not been forgiven by the parents of the girl, he must have forgiven himself and found a glimpse of hope as reflected by his good behaviour inside the prison quarters.
I communicated recently with a prison chaplain who ran a bible study group with inmates. During the discussions, they concentrated on the word pity and where God's love was in their lives before they went to prison. As a believer, she was so touched by their life stories and could only feel true compassion for them.
We are imperfect human beings. But our God is a loving God. He is a God of compassion and mercy. He forgives us. And he gives us hope. Hope for a better future full of love, meaning and compassion for others.
May we always find our hearts burning with forgiveness, mercy and compassion as we see glimmers of hope in our daily lives.
Have you experienced mercy and forgiveness in your life? Please share your story in the comments below.