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New Church Perspective
is an online magazine with essays and other content published weekly. Our features are from a variety of writers dealing with a variety of topics, all celebrating the understanding and application of New Church ideas. For a list of past features by category or title, visit our archive.

Entries in mercy (3)


Meditate | Forgiveness

“The Lord cannot be worshipped except from charity” (Secrets of Heaven 440).

“The Lord… said that we should not forgive our brother or sister up to seven times but up to seventy times seven. This means that we should forgive as often as our brother or sister sins, without limit, or to eternity, which is holy” (Secrets of Heaven 433).

Forgiveness. I think—well, I can only know for myself—that my ego or outer self says, “Yes, forgive others without limit if…” If they repent, say. But I think this passage would have said something about that, inserted some additional clause, if that were the case. I think my role is to forgive, because the Lord is forgiveness and mercy itself. And the part of me that wants to withhold forgiveness until something that serves me has happened, like having the other person change his ways, is not of a heavenly origin. Even though a person changing his ways may be a good thing, my needing it to be so in order to forgive them is selfish and self-serving. Similar to what I’ve heard said of anger; the resentment that results from not forgiving others lives, along with all its negative effects, in the person not forgiving, whereas the other person is forgiven already by the Lord. Good things for me to think about.


Meditate | Livin' It

“’They are filled with the fat of your house, and you slake their thirst with a river of your pleasures, because yours is the wellspring of life. In your light we see light’ (Psalms 36: 8, 9). The fat and the wellspring of life stand for the heavenly quality that belongs to love. The river of pleasures and the light stand for the spiritual quality that belongs to faith” (Secrets of Heaven 353).

It has been really helpful to have the daily intention in my mind, “I want to be loving, kind, useful, and merciful. May that be my focus today and may I not be attached to the results of my actions.” (See last week’s meditation post). To live this way means to be living from the heart, filled with the fat of the Lord’s house, connected to Him in my heart/inner self as the wellspring of life, and to live off of His river of pleasures and see in His light. And this doesn’t mean I’m not getting anything done! On the contrary, all my actions have a more genuine source. Write because it is useful; live because it is kind and useful; act because it is loving, kind, and merciful; and not be attached to the results of my actions, but act for the action itself, because it is loving, kind, useful, and merciful. The Lord will take care of the rest. 


Meditate | Water from the Sanctuary 

"'Beside the river, on its bank, on this side and that, grows every food tree. Its leaf will not fall, and its fruit will not be used up. Month by month it is reborn, because its waters are going out from the sanctuary. And its fruit will serve as food, and its leaf, as medicine' (Ezekiel 47:12).

'Water from the sanctuary' symbolizes the living energy and mercy of the Lord, who is the 'sanctuary.'" Secrets of Heaven 57

I love the image of being a tree planted on the bank of the Lord’s river of life. It says the Lord is the sanctuary, which I’m guessing is the origin of the river, and so the river of life emanates from the Lord and creates all things, including each one of us. I could see the tree as an image of the Lord giving food to people—heavenly people, or the tree could be a symbol for a person, which is a more striking image to me in this moment. The message I get from this passage is about being reborn every month, or every cycle (see my earlier meditation on cycles), and how it’s by having our roots drawing nourishment from the Lord that there is a new dawn, a new beginning at each turn of the cycle. When I go through hard or dark times, through temptation, it’s my own selfishness that’s getting thrown in my face. It definitely has been true in my experience that the quality of the Lord that really saves me and brings me through the cycle is mercy—forgiveness. Likewise, our ideas, preconceptions, and understanding of other people can be reborn through mercy—which is a living energy, a life-giving energy from the Lord, the sanctuary. We can give others new life in our own minds by seeing them from a place of mercy and forgiveness; it is at this point that our fruit can be food and our leaves medicine for them.