Years ago, President Monson recounted the story of a young paperboy who didn’t always deliver the paper in the manner intended. Instead of getting the paper on the porch, he sometimes accidentally threw it into the bushes or to close to the street. Some on his paper route decided to start a petition of complaint.
One day a delegation came to the Monson’s house asking Sister Monson to sign the petition. She declined, saying, “Why, he’s just a little boy, and the papers are so heavy for him. I would never be critical of him, for he tries his best.” The petition, however, was signed by many of the others on the paper route and sent to the boy’s supervisors.
Not many days afterward, President Monson came home from work and found his wife in tears. When she was finally able to talk, she told him that she had just learned that the body of the little paperboy had been found in his garage, where he had taken his own life. Apparently the criticism heaped upon him had been too much for him to bear.
How easy it would have been for Sister Monson to sign that petition. How easy it would have been to find fault when it was deserved. Yet she chose mercy and understanding instead of accusation.
Are there similar circumstances in your life where someone is at fault, and blame is just? If so, consider the option of exercising mercy instead. We are all dealing with many burdens and concerns that others around us can’t fathom. There are always opportunities to lash out at other drivers, unfriendly tellers, or unruly children. Let’s take a step back this week, give people the benefit of the doubt, and reach out with kindness.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said so eloquently, and as Sister Monson so gracefully exhibited, “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” Is there a paperboy in your life who could benefit from a little more mercy and a little less “justice”?