Do you know the mercy of God? Not the idea of it, but the real feeling of peace and love that comes from God’s merciful presence? The experience—a glimpse of how much God loves you despite your failings—can be moving and life-changing.
Hearing Fr. Peter Armenio and Chuck Neff discuss God’s mercy inspired one woman to call The Inner Life® and share her incredible story of mercy and forgiveness.
“Back in 1995 I was the victim of a violent crime—I was shot in my car. And it was pretty traumatic, but one of the things I do remember that I will never forget is the day after the incident, I was trembling in fear, profusely trembling and I couldn’t stop. I remember calling out to God and asking God to help me, and I remember this very strong presence of peace coming towards me. And then it shrouded me, literally, and my whole nervous system calmed immediately and I knew I was in the presence of Christ and in his peace,” said Elaine, a listener from San Diego.
Elaine experienced post-traumatic stress after the shooting and visited many counselors to deal with her fear and anxiety. The counselors expected her to be angry, bitter, or resentful that she had endured this trauma, but she insists that she was not.
“I identify myself as a sinner and I am no different than the man who came and sinned against me. And God, in his mercy, forgave me of my sin so why shouldn’t I, wanting to have the character of Christ, do the same? So I did,” explained Elaine.
She prayed that she might have the grace to forgive. “I want to continue to have your mercy poured out over my life. And not just my life, but my children, my husband, my grandchildren. And I said, help me through the power of the Holy Spirit to have an outpouring of mercy on this young man who has been robbed of so much more than I could have ever been robbed of, because he has not come to experience the love, and mercy, and grace, and peace of God.”
Her own experience of mercy, she says, gave her the ability to be merciful after such a violent attack. She has used that feeling of peace and mercy to pray for her attacker. “It has helped me to be a prayer warrior for this young man who I don’t know who he is, but I know one thing: that it’s my responsibility as a sister in Christ to pray for him and to extend that mercy over him like God did to me in that forgiveness. And because of that, there has never been an unforgiveness, a bitterness, or resentment and anger towards this young man.”
Elaine turned to scripture as she endured the aftermath of her trauma. “Even when I was diagnosed with PTSD, I went to the Word of God and I said, ‘Well, what do you think about this, God?’ And then he showed me 2 Timothy 1:7: ‘For I have not given you a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.’ And so, his word for me is part of that mercy that he extends to us.”
Listen to Elaine’s full testimony here:
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