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Laying down our gavels

March 31, 2015

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Confession #1:  sometimes it’s hard to love mercy.

Confession #2: sometimes it’s easy to claim “acting justly” as a reason to not love mercy.

Humans have a thing for justice.  We want people get what they deserve.  The problem comes with deciding what exactly people deserve, because in our minds it’s simple:

Scoundrels, dog-kickers, and foolish folk deserve justice, and nice folk deserve mercy.

But remember…the word gospel literally means “good news”.  How is it good news for the law-breakers if they can never be surprised by unmerited favor?  What kind of good news would it be if the best that one could ever hope for is steaming hot bowl of comeuppance?

And then there’s the nice folk.  I’m sure you’re a nice folk.  Me too. Or at least, that’s what we’ll work our patooties off to present to each other.  We’ll be terrified to let each other see the shadows of our imperfections because we each might decide the other one deserves justice.

At the end of the day, the terrible truth is that we want justice for others and mercy for ourselves.

So we justify posting unflattering and unsubstantiated merciless articles and videos on our Facebook feeds about politicians and celebrities we don’t like, and causes we don’t agree with.

It doesn’t occur to us that our bent towards justice and public exposure and humiliation could actually potentially block someone else’s encounter with mercy…

…or the Mercy-giver.

The key to the justice-mercy thing is found in the last part of Micah 6:8.

Walk humbly with your God.

Humbly.  In full recognition of who He is, and who we are without Him.  Seeing as He sees.  Loving what He loves.  Forgiving as He forgives.  Walking in understanding that He already accomplished justice through the cross, and that our way of doing justice means introducing those who don’t deserve such goodness to Jesus, who is rich in mercy.

Justice is about the law.  Mercy is about love.

And in the end, mercy trumps justice.

Thank heaven for us all.



4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2015 9:48 am

    Well said
    Mercy triumphs over judgement for me, for you, The least we can do is let it triumph for the others we know, meet, see. :)

  2. March 31, 2015 1:30 pm

    In a study of Philippians right now. Very good doses of mercy and humility. Check me, Lord, when I stray from mercy.

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