"He who is compassionate to the cruel will ultimately become cruel to the compassionate."
(Source: Tanhuma, Parashat Mezora,1; Yalkut Shimoni, I Samuel, Chapter 121)
The Jewish People are a nation of kindness and mercy. The kind deeds they perform for their fellow man stem from a psychological drive, implanted in them by G-d, to show compassion.Misplaced Mercy and Compassion: It is actually forbidden to open the door wide to everyone who knocks and certainly for those forcing their way into your home.
Yet, this compassion becomes an inexhaustible fountain only through one's concerted effort to understand these G-d-given traits and direct himself in their application.
...Our sages said, "G-d gave Israel three fine gifts," because G-d instilled these traits in the Jewish People when they stood at Mount Sinai. The same point arises in the principle that "if someone lacks shyness, it is clear that his ancestors did not stand at Mount Sinai. This indicates that when Israel stood at Mount Sinai and G-d revealed Himself and chose them as His special nation - holy, elect, supreme - He implanted in them, but not in the nations, a special soul with mercy, shyness and kindness. If a non-Jew seeks to convert, his soul is transformed into a Jewish soul with these traits, and then it is as though even he is among those whose ancestors stood at Sinai.
Israel were chosen by G-d as His nation and inheritance; He filled their soul with noble mercy. Yet, if they do not make use of such Divine traits, over time an apathetic shell develops which defeats their delicacy and sensitivity. To our great chagrin, we see a growing portion of our people who have cast off G-d's yoke, resulting in their special Divine traits being dulled. Where they were once the merciful children of merciful parents, they have instead been filled with base cruelty and evil.
There is no more disgraceful or wicked trait than cruelty at the wrong time and place.
...there is no better path for a person to cling to than a good heart and no worse path than an evil heart, because everything depends on the heart, the seat of lust and pride, man's emotions and desires. It says, "Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the L-rd" (Prov. 16:5); and, "Before destruction man's heart is haughty" (Prov. 18:12) G-d is not looking for the wise or mighty. How can these be boastful next to the wisdom and might of Him Whose word created might and wisdom?
...A person should not boast of his wisdom, might or wealth, for these are fleeting and inconsequential. They are the source of pride, lust and selfishness - the absolute opposite of the world's reason for existence. Rather, one should take pride in being good-hearted, modest and humble, for that is man's whole purpose.
...Indeed, G-d is kind and merciful, and His mercies are over all His works. Man is duty-bound to emulate Him, and Israel, His nation, are commanded to wear the mantle of mercy and show mercy to all His works.
...Yet, it must always be in the right time and place in accordance with the dictates of Halachah, Jewish law, and the Divine conception of mercy. Let us never forget the mitzvah of not showing mercy where forbidden to do so.
...the definition of "mercy" and "love of Israel" are what G-d defines them to be, and not the mercy of fools enslaved to alien culture.
[Source: Or Hara'ayon, Chapter Eight: "Mercy and Compassion," pp. 169-180]