The Mercy of Learning – Day 16

This isn't a shock to anyone: I'm not perfect. We can confidently say that nobody is perfect (well...there are two technicalities, Jesus and His Mother Mary, but they are special cases that emphasize the point). This means that the information with which we perceive the world is limited. Even if the information itself is clear, our perceptions may be distorted due to physical, mental, moral, or spiritual handicaps. To borrow an analogy: it doesn't matter how strong the signal is if the antenna is bad.

Spending time teaching my kids, I've realized that there is mercy in the fact that we can learn despite our handicaps. We may refuse to learn, but it doesn't change that we can learn.

This ability to learn runs counter to a strict narrative that we impose our wills upon the world. There is a certain give and take where we must first learn from the world around us before we can begin to shape it. And then we can only change the shape in a certain way, otherwise, it falls apart. Throughout, our understanding of ourselves and the world changes. We learn.

This ability to learn also means that we can correct our mistakes. Seeing the wrongs that we have done, we can correct our course and seek to fulfill the demands of justice. When we observe the faults of others, we should provide some space to allow them to learn (within reason). Perhaps they will also course-correct. Just because some people said or did some nasty things at one point in their life doesn't mean that they can't repent and deserve cancellation.

This thought process came from a reflection on the following realities:

  • God is perfectly just and all offenses against Him, no matter how small, are worthy of complete separation from Him.
  • Being fallen, Human beings offend God every day through sin.
  • Through the perfect sacrifice of His Son, God has mercifully given us a path to salvation. We start on this path by the Sacrament of Baptism
  • God mercifully gives us the time to repent of our repeated offenses against Him and to reconcile ourselves with Him through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

We have the time. Let us thank God for His mercy. Let us use this time wisely.

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