The Quality of Mercy

“The quality of mercy is not strained.”– Shakespeare

I teach the Shakespeare play from which this quote comes, Merchant of Venice, and while my high school students have been using this line in presentations and seminars to make good points, I’ve been thinking about it in conjunction with the Year of Mercy.

One student made the good point today that mercy is not a one time deal. The whole line said by the character Portia is that “The quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.” Unless you live in the desert, we experience how often the rain comes and can easily see the comparison to that same frequent giving of mercy from our Father in heaven.

Just as God has many opportunities to show mercy, I have found that I do, too. Since I’ve been thinking about the Year of Mercy and this particular play, it seems that opportunities for me to extend mercy have presented themselves with frequency. It is probably just my heightened awareness on the subject, but each time I have seen the choice before me: do I give mercy or do I withhold mercy?

While there are times when justice seems to be the right path, I am convicted by the petition in the Lord’s Prayer of asking for pardon just as I pardon. Then, I think of how Portia continues to say that mercy is a double blessing: “it is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

So, as we begin this Year of Mercy, may we encounter the mercy of God and be a witness of mercy towards others.


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About the Author

Angela Hamrick

I only first went to youth group in high school because my mother made me. Little did I know that the Lord's plan for my life would be directly related to that one Wednesday evening. I don't eat bananas, seafood, or the white sauce that comes with chips and salsa.

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