Notice how each of these words requires an offender for the meaning to make sense? Compassion shown for an opponent is not an image we see on the evening news. Our society is largely fueled by blame, hate, and revenge.
Leaders know how hard it is to be merciful. When we have been wronged the last thing we want to do is forgive. When an opponent is attacking our ideas, being tolerant seems illogical.
Here are some simple ways leaders can be more merciful.
- Show patience. Accept that others don’t see the world as you do. Appreciate the differences in others. See them as strengths you can leverage.
- Be helpful. Notice those who seem distracted or emotionally vulnerable. Offer your assistance and support.
- Practice kindness. When someone offends you, don’t look to get even. Show restraint and be kind instead.
- Do more good. Do the right thing without an invitation. Correct a wrong. Give people a second chance.
- Become a bridge builder. Everyone deserves opportunities. Foster relationships, even with those who have hurt you in the past.
Being merciful is not dependent on performance. It doesn’t blame or judge. Inequity is everywhere. Most of us share a worldview of scarcity, not abundance. We protect and withhold, especially if we have been victims of injustice.
We cannot be merciful until we know we are loved and created to love others. In its purest form being merciful is love in action to make a difference.