#184 of Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh.
Divest, then, Thy servants, O my God, of the garments of self and desire, or grant that the eyes of Thy people may be lifted up to such heights that they will discern in their desires naught except the stirring of the gentle winds of Thine eternal glory, and may recognize in their own selves nothing but the revelation of Thine own merciful Self,…
The “or” is interesting. Bahá’u’lláh is asking God to just go ahead and divest His servants of self and desire without their having to do it on their own OR grant that their eyes may be lifted up so high that they will see nothing except God’s eternal glory and may see that God is revealed in themselves and will work toward making that vision a reality.
And “merciful Self” is powerful because we are the revelations of His mercy. Does that mean that our existence is the “revelation” or that we can reveal or exhibit His mercy by our actions? Or maybe both.
Since one of the foundations of the Baha’i Faith is that humans have free will and are responsible for our actions, I think the answer is that we can personify His mercy.
So what does that mean?
compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. ~~Google search
While most of us do not have the authority to punish someone else (even if we think we might) it is certainly within our power to harm other people. Everyday. In every encounter. And certainly, we see that every day in media, social media, and interpersonal actions. We have become so self-righteous, and not just in a religious meaning.
Self-righteousness or “Cancel Culture” is the mode that gains the most likes and shares. It makes us feel good. It resounds with superiority and schadenfreude. Every slip of the tongue or mistake is held up to ridicule and is evidence that the person is obviously inferior, mentally, spiritually, or politically.
To be merciful in this day is to restrain yourself from proclaiming another person’s faults, misunderstandings, or slips of the tongue. It is avoiding schadenfreude. It is knowing that someday, one will be the victim, and will require mercy in return.