The woman at the counter of the pharmacy in Rochester Hills was a manager. When a customer handed her a coupon for 20% off the total purchase price of a few items she balked. “This coupon is expired!” she said with no apology. The customer, surprised, replied, “Oh, but it just came in the mail yesterday!”
With a voice full of disbelief, the manager answered, ‘Really!’ Without explanation, she began to tap computer keys and shake her head. After a long interval, waiting in uncomfortable silence, the bill was tallied with the 20% discount promised by the coupon. ‘I actually gave you more than 20% off because you had a sale item there too!’ said the manager without a smile, as she passed the bag of items.
The customer did not look happy or grateful but went away with a tense expression that seemed to say, ‘Hey you don’t have to do me any favors!’
What went wrong? The manager had given the discount. She went above and beyond honoring the coupon and reduced a sale item as well. Why wasn’t the customer happy?
We have all seen a driver waving angrily in the parking lot for people to pass on foot as if to say ‘Go on, get out of my way!’ He may be yielding but he leaves no lingering feeling of fraternity, unity, joy or peace in his wake.
Romans 12 says, ‘If your gift is… to show mercy, do it cheerfully.’
From the French, ‘merci’, mercy is giving that leaves a person feeling grateful and appreciative, wanting to say thank-you. It is an aspect of love that carries no punishment with it and no strings attached. Mercy with cheerfulness (pleasantness, agreeableness), invites trust and love and begins a bonding process. ‘Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.’- 2 Corinthians 9:7-8
Giving without cheerfulness will invite anger. Do a computer search and read the negative ratings and reviews that people write about their experiences in stores, restaurants, hotels or virtually anywhere when they were perhaps a bit late or had some difficulty. If the staff remained cheerful, customers were grateful and loyal. But when the staff were rude or impatient, the inclination was to denounce the employee and even try to hurt the reputation of the entire organization.
It is always in our best interest to be merciful: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.’ – Matthew 5:7
What to do when begrudged of mercy? ‘Do not repay anyone evil for evil…If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord.’ – Romans 12:17-19