The Way of Mercy


The Way of Mercy is four simple steps to heal a relationship based on the principles of restorative justice. When we make a bad choice, say or do things that we shouldn’t, hurt someone or break the trust of another, it’s important to take ownership of our actions (or inactions), apologise for it and rebuild the relationship.

More than “I’m sorry”

Restoring relationships requires more than simply saying “I’m sorry”. This is an ‘I centred’ statement. Even when it is sincere (which is necessary), it is often not sufficient on its own to restore the relationship fully. It is only the first step on the ‘Way of Mercy’ and needs to be followed by an empathetic statement that expressed your awareness of the harm done, a promise to do it differently in the future, and then a request for forgiveness.

Asking for forgiveness is not easy. It takes humility to do this and requires us to surrender our power to the other; we are literally ‘at their mercy’ – they can choose to grant forgiveness to withhold it. Hopefully, your sincerity will make it easier for them to accept your apology, grant forgiveness and you can begin to rebuild your relationship.

Step 1 – Sorrow: I am sorry for… (State what you did, said or failed to do)

Step 2 – Empathy: It was wrong because … (Say how it harmed the other person)

Step 3 – Promise: In the future I will … (Make a commitment to do it differently)

Step 4 – Mercy: Please forgive me. (It takes humility to ask for forgiveness!)

Download our Way of Mercy activity to help you take steps in the right direction 

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Francine Pirola

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