A Little Cup of Mercy

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Today during testimony meeting… I heard a gentleman say… “I find it so useful to come to church and drink from the little cup of mercy every week…” when referring to his relationship with the sacrament ritual. I found this so incredibly touching. I so enjoy when somebody uses language in just a slightly different way than I’m used to hearing… and in that new language comes new meaning… new possibilities… new insights.

When I think of the definition of mercy — compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm — I think of the many ways we need this principle in the context of our mental health. Both in relationship to self, and relationships we share with others. Mercy is necessary in the processes of radical acceptance and unconditional love. Mercy is necessary in the building of good, healthy boundaries. Mercy is helpful with having realistic expectations. Mercy can help us avoid or learn how to manage certain cognitive distortions common in those who battle depression and anxiety.

I’d be curious to hear in the comments section… what ways have you found the concept of mercy helpful? I know it’s counterpart concept is justice (also helpful and necessary). And yet, we seem to not spend us much time on the mercy dynamics as I believe we should. Is this your experience?

Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST can be reached at natashaparker.org and runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She hosts the Mormon Mental Health and Mormon Sex Info Podcasts, writes a regular column for Sunstone Magazine and is the current president of the Mormon Mental Health Association. She has over 20 years of experience working with primarily an LDS/Mormon clientele.

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