I have been thinking about this idea for a while...let's see if I can take what has been in my head and write it to convey the message I want to....
My 5th child (no names of my kids on this public blog) was 7 weeks early, (now 10 months). He has had to play "catch up" for all of his short life. He is still small, weight and height wise. He is quite behind in his motor development. He also has a pretty severe allergy..whenever he eats ANYTHING with milk in it (even pancakes) he throws up.
So because he is behind and has some challenges...does that mean I am disappointed in him and love him less? Of course not! If anything it means I spend extra time and attention on him to help him get to where he needs to be. I accept him where he is at and start at that point. I am not comparing him to other babies who were born full term and have different and more advanced abilities. I have a special little place in my heart for my baby because of the difficult circumstances he entered this world in.
So when we are having our challenges and perhaps are "behind" where we should be due to our choices, does that mean our Heavenly Father loves us any less? Of course not! His love for us is infinite, unchanging and unconditional. In fact if we turn to Him, no matter our circumstances, no matter our choices or not matter how delayed we might be...he will be there for us!
He will spend extra time and attention on us if our hearts are open. He will send down his angels to strengthen and guide us in our difficult times. He may even hold a special place in his heart for those who struggle. He will come to us at our starting point and help us along the path. What matters to Him is that we are progressing forward along the path. He will not compare us with others who are further along. He will help us individually where WE are at. I believe this is what MERCY is.
But it all depends on us...we have to open our hearts to Him and allow him to help us.