Chaplain's Corner: Give Mercy

May 2019

Jesus said, "Be merciful, even as your heavenly Father is merciful." I think it is probably apparent to most of us that there is a lack of mercy in this world in which we live. And sadly, some of us don't even need to leave our own homes to find a lack of mercy. In the Roman world in which Jesus spoke these words, mercy was despised and something to be ashamed of and considered a weakness. We often think of mercy in terms of feeling sympathy, kindness or compassion toward another person. But mercy is more than this. Mercy is an action word – it is the deliberate act of feeling someone else's need and seeking to do something about it. Let me give you a true illustration of mercy.

Fiorello LaGuardia, who was Mayor of New York City during the Great Depression and whom the airport in New York City is named after, was serving as judge in the night court. Within a few minutes, a tattered old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told the mayor that her daughter's husband left the family, her daughter was sick, and her two grandchildren were starving. However, the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, refused to drop the charges. "It's a real bad neighborhood, your Honor," the man told the Mayor. "She's got to be punished to teach other people around here a lesson." LaGuardia sighed. He turned to the woman and said, "I've got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions. I fine you ten dollars or ten days in jail." Then he reached into his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill and put it into his hat saying, "Here is the $10 fine, which I now remit; and furthermore I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant." $47.50 was turned over to that elderly woman. In today's money, it would be about $920.00.

This is a wonderful illustration of how God will show us mercy. We have all sinned and broken God's laws. We all deserve to be punished for breaking His laws – no exceptions. But God, who is rich in mercy, put our punishment upon Jesus by having Him die on the cross. He paid the price of what we could not pay, for we cannot buy forgiveness. When we humble ourselves and ask God to forgive our sins against Him and others, He extends mercy to us and forgives us. Then He tells us to go and give mercy to others just as He has done to us.

To go further in depth about God's mercy, go to and search "Mercy." There are many resources there to help you.

To contact me if you want to talk about this, or anything else, my personal cell number is 513-505-3761, my personal email is Anything that we talk about is confidential and will not be shared with anyone else.

Thank you,

Rich Femia
FSE Corporate Chaplain

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