Mercy, Mercy Me

After having a few days to reflect on the travesty of Troy Davis’ death, after digging through the Facebook posts, Tweets, and emails about the grave injustice, after talking with friends about how to take this momentum and create opportunities for change, I’ve finally gotten to the bottom of what all of this is about.

No, I’m not going to discuss the case, the evidence, the flawed judicial system, or the blatant disregard of human life. Not today.

Today, I’ll take a different perspective to explore the root of why things went so terribly wrong. The concept is simple: grace and mercy.

The Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines grace as:

Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace.

Mercy is defined as:

That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant.

The laws of grace and mercy extend beyond Christian ideology; it is a human concept that we inherently show to other human beings. In the animal kingdom, there is no real sense of what we call “mercy”. There are no lions showing gazelles any mercy in the African Sahara. The Polar Bears of Antarctica typically aren’t being gracious with the fish they catch to ensure their fellow bear friends have food to eat. If we do see acts of mercy and kindness in the animal kingdom, it makes the last 30-seconds of Access Hollywood as the “feel good” story of the day.

It’s a kill or be killed world out there for them. Get yours before I take mine.

However, as humans, we have the ability to extend grace and mercy; we see, know, and understand the human condition and because of it, God has graced us with His mercy. We understand the pains and sorrows that come with life and our compassion is what drives us to give a little more, love a little harder, and extend  mercy towards other people. God sacrificed His son for humanity because He knew we needed someone to save us from the same human condition that can also cause people to kill others, steal from the poor, and choose self-preservation over communal liberation.

As I mentioned in my letter to the state of Georgia, we had a chance to extend mercy to Troy Davis. Whether we can agree on his innocence or not, mercy says “I’ll grant you [insert compassionate human emotion here] even if you don’t ‘deserve’ it”.

The laws of our land require us to submit to decisions made by our courts that extend beyond the heartfelt message I’m writing today. Many of our laws (when enforced fairly and consistently) are rigid and intended to keep the proverbial carrot of freedom dangling before the salivating mouths of its constituents.

There are some moments, however, where one decision driven by mercy can catapult an entire society to new levels of compassion for their fellow-man. Even those political leaders who fail us repeatedly receive a level of mercy from us. They let us down, never fulfill promises, but we continue under their leadership with the hopes that eventually they’ll make good on their word. We show them mercy by electing them back into office. We can only hope they remember these merciful moments when they prepare to fail us again.

I’m reminded of when Big Red from the movie The Five Heartbeats hung Bird out the window for not following his “9-to-5 office hours” ruleWith beaded brow and torn pants, Bird begged for mercy. The anguish on his face expressed that he wanted one thing and one thing only: another chance to make it right.

Big Red, in all his permed-out, fictional glory gave it to him.

How much more to our real brothers and sisters of this world?

There’s a lesson to be learned here, something deeper and greater than I think we could have all imagined.

A little grace and mercy goes a long way.

We should take this hidden message in Troy Davis’ death to understand that we all receive a level of mercy that we don’t deserve. We all, in some kind of way, are Troy Davises who need just a bit of mercy to extend the length and breadth of our lives.

Troy wasn’t as fortunate, but we are. With a greater understanding of how powerful this grace and mercy is on a global scale, we must challenge ourselves to be intentional with our own servings of mercy towards others.

Showing more mercy,

Alisha L.

Bey + Jay vs. Keisha + RayRay

Last night, Twitter was all the buzz over Beyonce’s silent announcement that she was with child (yay!) Before you knew it, three Twitter accounts, all claiming to be the fetus of Bey-Z began tweeting out quirky little comments that kept The Twitter a buzz late into the night.

Back in the real world, however, Tweets and Facebook status began ringing of an old familiar battle cry amongst men and women.

Here’s a taste: Continue reading


I don’t take any occurrence in my life as happenstance or by coincidence.

I believe that everything that I encounter is a result of divine purpose and intervention.

I’m not a religious freak that gives a “God bless you” after every sentence, but I do believe that nothing my friends, is by chance.

Today, I took Ashli to the movies to see Gnomeo and Juliet (great flick, BTW) and as we were leaving the theater, Ashli yelled, “mommy! There’s a $5 bill!” I took a few steps back and sure enough, there was a $5 near the bushes.

A few paces later, I spotted a $1 bill on the ground.

Considering the wind was at a high gust, it was surprising that those bills were lying there, undisturbed, seemingly waiting.

In usual “I’m addicted to social media” fashion, I tweeted our finds to the World Wide Web.

Someone suggested that I look up the biblical meaning of the number 6. So I did.

The number 6 is the number of man; man was created on the 6th day (as was Satan), it is the human number, the number of human labor (devoid of God’s assistance).

After reading that, I thought, I don’t know if I like that. I decided to look up a set of numbers that make up the number 6: 5 and 1.

The number 5 is the number of grace. Grace = favor. Favor to the unworthy (undeserving) = Grace!

The number 1 is the number of independence, the beginning, God is solitary, needs no help.

What, then, does this mean?

In my walk with God, I’ve done a lot of the work. I’ve toiled, labored, hustled, manipulated to manifest what I needed to happen. Whether that was to pay a bill or get an opportunity, I *cough* unnecessarily put myself to work to get things done. I’ve been “sixing”.

Lately, I’ve been faced with trials, been in need, believing God for some things that, in a former life, (you know, when I was a Sixer) I would have been on my hustle trying to make happen myself. I realized today that I’ve been operating at a 5 and 1.

I’ve received favor from God that I didn’t deserve. I decided to take my hands of certain situations, not revert back to bad habits and allowed him to work in solitary.

There’s someone reading this who is a Sixer. They’ve been trying to make things happen on their own for the longest, and while they’ve gained some ground, they haven’t been as successful as they’d like to be.

Stop working under man’s number. Stop “sixing”. Become a 5 and 1.

God’s grace and favor is there, waiting for you to take your hands off it and let Him work alone.

You may say, “I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to stop worrying, stop hustling. I’ve been doing it so long, that stopping my work to let HIM work seems backwards.”

His command his simple: Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. –1 Peter 5:7

Just do it. Be carefree in Him. Doesn’t mean you neglect responsibility and put your best foot forward, but let Him do the work. He doesn’t need our help or assistance and if you mess up, His grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

On the Chase of 5 and 1,

Alisha L.