Grace is defined as unmerited favor. It involves giving others, and sometimes even lavishing on them, something they don't literally deserve or have a claim to receive. It means going beyond what could be expected, and acting from the boundless resource of love.
Mercy is typically defined as compassion, or forbearance. It involves not dishing out to others something negative or harshly judgmental that they might actually deserve. It involves a certain restraint, or a holding back, with a sense of another's intrinsic value, born only of love. Mercy finds a better way.
Grace and mercy. How often do we speak of such things? Really? And yet, they are surely among the most important things of all. Do we cultivate these amazing dispositions with our thoughts and actions, daily? Or do we merely admire them from afar and hope to be their beneficiaries, rather than dedicating ourselves to being their conduits into the world?
Go to a movie, turn on a TV, or sample what's happening online, in news comments, and social media, beyond your closest circle of friends. How much grace and mercy do you experience?
Too many of us are dipped into a toxic mix every day and then wonder why we don't shine.
Each of us is here, I believe, to be a blessing to others, and never a curse. How then do we manage that? By living with grace and mercy. Expose yourself to others who live this way. Read of these things. Think on them. Use your imagination well. Ask: "How can I be a vehicle for grace and mercy to others?" Avoid the poisonous brew spread abroad by those who are strangers to these concepts. And, in a famous twist on the golden rule, treat others as if they were what they ought to be, and you can help them become what they're capable of being.
That way, you'll be a blessing, and never a curse, to those around you, to our broader world, and perhaps, most important of all, to yourself.
So go live a little grace and mercy.