Several days ago a friend posted on Facebook about choosing a word to live by in 2013 rather than making a new year’s resolution. I’ve never made a new year’s resolution, I’ve felt they are rather foolish. This idea… living by a word, intrigued me.
I thought about it for a while, played with some words in my head, but nothing grabbed me. So I put the idea aside….
On New Year’s Eve my husband and I went to see the movie Les Miserable. I was disturbed throughout the entire movie. So much suffering, so much pain… I couldn’t contain it. I felt it every where, in my shoulders, in my guts. I shivered and tensed, my heart literally hurt.
For those of you who do not know the story. The opening scene is of Jean Verjean being put on parole and let out of prison (for stealing a loaf of bread). He travels in the cold, looking for work, looking for food, looking for warmth, everywhere he goes he is rejected and turned away because his “papers” say he is a convict. He ends up at a monastery… the priest invites him in, feeds him, gives him a warm fire to sleep by and a bed. In the night Jean Verjean steals the silver from monastery and runs away. He is caught and brought back to the monastery. The police say that Jean says he was given the silver. The priest, validates Jean’s story, “yes we gave him the silver, but Jean you were in such a hurry your forgot the best pieces” the priest picks up the two silver candlesticks on the table and hands them to Jean Verjean.
As you can imagine Jean Verjean has NO idea what to do with that “mercy”. He wrestles with God and decides to change his life. To “change” his name and legacy.
Years later, under a new name, he is the mayor of a town. He sets up a factory for women so they don’t have to prostitute themselves. We even see him, in his fine clothes free a man from being crushed by a beam that falls on him….
As I watched this man do whatever he could to ease people’s suffering constantly extending mercy. Reaching out, lifting up, soothing, protecting…. I was moved… I too want to ease suffering. There is so much suffering, so much pain. Can I be “living, breathing mercy”? Oh, I want to be. I want to be the hand that soothes, the voice that encourages, the arms that hold another’s pain gently so as not to bruise.
A bruised reed He will not crush, a smoldering wick He will not snuff out (Isaiah 42:3). Let me be mercy, Dear God, let me be mercy!
So my One Word… the word I want to live by … is MERCY.