“And Yaakov said to his sons, ‘may G-d give you mercy in front of the man (Yosef).’”
Would it not have been more correct for Yaakov to pray, “May Almighty G-d be merciful to you?”
Yaakov’s words were more than a prayer, they were a lesson as well. He told his children that if they wished to illicit mercy from the Egyptian ruler, who had been so stern with them, then they must first be compassionate to each other. If they relate to other people with a lack of sensitivity, then they should not expect anyone to be considerate of them.
Yaakov’s prayer, therefore, was “May G-d grant that you be merciful, then you can hope to receive mercy as well.”
We can, to a significant measure, influence how others react to us by developing those character traits in our behavior towards them that we would wish them to manifest towards us.