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    MERCY

    Years after the death of President Calvin Coolidge, this story came to light. In the early days of his presidency, Coolidge awoke one morning in his hotel room to find a cat burglar going through his pockets. Coolidge spoke up, asking the burglar not to take his watch chain because it contained an engraved charm he wanted to keep. Coolidge then engaged the thief in quiet conversation and discovered he was a college student who had no money to pay his hotel bill or buy a ticket back to campus. Coolidge counted $32 out of his wallet -- which he had also persuaded the dazed young man to give back! -- declared it to be a loan, and advised the young man to leave the way he had come so as to avoid the Secret Service! (Yes, the loan was paid back.) 

    Today in the Word, October 8, 1992.


    A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death. 

    "But I don't ask for justice," the mother explained. "I plead for mercy." 

    "But your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied. 

    "Sir," the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for." 

    "Well, then," the emperor said, "I will have mercy." And he spared the woman's son. 

    Luis Palau, Experiencing God's Forgiveness, Multnomah Press, 1984.