Mercy. I learned in Christian school that it’s defined as “not getting what you deserve.” I’m pretty sure the person who abused my son deserves hell and jail. But I wonder today as I think about how long this is taking in the human courts, I wonder if G-d is simply giving The Abuser more time for mercy.
So I looked up mercy from a Jewish perspective. In Christian school, I memorized Bible verses about G-d’s mercy enduring forever, but honestly I don’t have a clue what that even means. Here’s an article about The 13 Attributes of Mercy.
Here’s lucky #13, quoted from the article: “Who cleanses (v’nakeh)–God is merciful, gracious, and forgiving, wiping away the sins of those who truly repent; however, if one does not repent, God does not cleanse.”
I’m going to look at this delay, this stretch of time as G-d showing his mercy. Holding out a hand of mercy toward The Abuser. Because as I said today to a CHANA expert waiting with me, I wouldn’t be so adamant about him needing to be punished with jail time if he would actually admit he hurt my son and own up to how wrong it was. (And get help.)
Maybe G-d’s giving him time.
The actions of a merciful G-d, I can support and be happy with. If his mercy extends to child abusers, his mercies extend to me and my normal sins. His mercy is big and available, and maybe that’s all we’re seeing here. Isn’t that what we want to see in our own lives? His mercy not his wrath.
Attribute of Mercy #6 : “Slow to anger (ereh apayim) – God gives the sinner ample time to reflect, improve, and repent.”
That’s all that’s happening here. I’m going to choose to take this perspective. And if I see you in real life, can you please remind me I came to this holy high revelation? Because sometimes I come to a holy high revelation in my writing time but then lose it ten minutes later and complain for dear life.
If The Abuser repents, admits what he did to my son, admits how wrong it was, and gets the help he clearly needs to be a safe person, I will be happy with that outcome.
If The Abuser refuses to repent in all these upcoming months of opportunity, and brings down the wrath of G-d on himself, I’ll be happy with that too.
All in G-d’s merciful time.