Monday, August 16, 2004

Tough Times and the Spirit of Mercy

Forced myself to take care of difficult business today. It wouldn't... couldn't ...wait another day. Husband & wife investors in our defunct dot-com claim that their investment was actually a personal loan, and they sued us to recoup their loss. They made many false statements in their legal filing. It was ugly. Truly ugly. And wrong.

We will survive the financial fallout, of course, no matter what the result. It's just money. Stuff.

The real problem is this couple used to be good friends with Ron and me. I procrastinated responding as long as possible, probably to avoid my deep, very deep feelings of pain at their anger at the unfairness and shock at their grotesque greed at any cost.

As an eBay bookseller, I have the privilege of discovering old, forgotten literary gems. One such book is indispensible to me now. The Holy Spirit speaks to me through her brilliant, serene wisdom and insights. I will treasure this small book for the rest of my earthly days, and pass it on to Andrea.

Words from that book (A Way to Peace, Health and Power - Studies for the Inner Life, published by Scribners in 1925, by Bertha Conde, a founder of the YWCA and an evangelical missionary ) helped me gain enough perspective to deal with the pain of this situation.

"It is of the utmost importance to our peace of mind and health of body that we open our hearts to the spirit of mercy. Most of the influences that break down our health are the depressing and bitter experiences that we have with other people.... If there rises within us a spirit of malice or anger, we feel the effects of it at once in our minds and bodies. Sometimes, sensitive souls are inhibitied for years by some past experience with someone they cannot forgive.

There is no remedy for soul or body until we begin to cultivate the inner spirit of mercy. It is used constantly by our Lord in reference to the undeserving and to enemies. Mercy loves its enemies, prays for them and pities then because of what they have to overcome before they can find peace. The spirit of mercy is the spirit of sympathy.

Jesus Christ pointed out a way in which we can rise to the height of assuring mercy for those who are undeserving. We are to turn away from the thought of their sins and to enter into our inner room, and there see ourselves in the light of God's presence. Then, we shall see how far short we have come in our own inner life, and when we remember that 'his tender mercies are over all his works,' while we struggle to have mercy toward a few, we realize our own shortcomings.

From such a contemplation of fact, we return with new tenderness and find it easier to let mercy have sway in our hearts."

Amen. I'm working on it. It's not easy.

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