imageThe game of baseball has what is known as the “mercy rule.” If a team has at least a 10 run lead after the losing team bats in the fifth inning, the umpires call the game. In UFC, it’s known as the tap-out. I’ve been a witness to both, and neither are really that merciful. But neither have I been at times. I judge, compare, and size people up by what they do and how they act.  There simply is no mercy in that. Sometimes I read a message or passage that triggers thoughts and inspires change. Paul Tripp writes, ” every moment of the foolishness and failure of our children should remind us why the Heavenly Father provided children with parents. Because of this, your primary calling as a parent is not first to represent God’s judgement, but rather to constantly deliver his mercy. ” You may be different, but mercy doesn’t come natural to me, especially to the ones that I’m closest too. I’ve noticed in my recovery, that I will forsake bestowing mercy to a family member;yet, I’ll grant it to a friend. In all my unravelings, I’m grateful others have shown me mercy. It is those mercies that are sufficient to sustain me when life gets sideways, or when I begin feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I’m also grateful that my family,including my recovery family,  have shown me mercy, but  most of all, thanks to God for giving me His love and mercy. It’s what keeps me going. It’s how I live. The AA book reminds me that when I drink,  I face three options: jails, institutions, and death. I’ve been to two and I’m just not ready to die yet. It’s a grim statistic, but very few alcoholics find a solution that works for long term sobriety: lots of 30, 60, and 90 day chips get handed out, a few with several years, then a big gap occurs I’ve noticed. My brain tells me that showing mercy is weak, and I begin to judge. Then, invariably, I pick a drink back up again. Thankfully, I recognize how spiritually stronger I am when I show others mercy without conditions. Addiction comes with an uneducated stigma. Other diseases do not. I must show mercy for my fellows with Substance Use Disorder. We didn’t choose this, I promise you…..Lord, have mercy!…b

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