Justice and Mercy

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8 KJV)

Justice and mercy?  As incredible as this sounds, the longer you mediate on this, the more perplexing, and thus humbling, this is.  In some way, we all want justice.  We want just judgments and we have a great deal of respect for those who carry them out.  We understand that there are cases that simply require a verdict and we are glad to see them pronounced with wisdom in a judicious manner.  On the other hand we also rejoice when mercy is bestowed on us.  For one reason or another full justice has not been poured out on us and either we or someone we are close to has received the kindness of a pardon or some kind of favor.  If we are the prosecutor, we tend to want justice.  If we are the defendant, we tend to want mercy.  If we are an independent audience, we can sway toward either justice or mercy.  Yet, that is just it!  We have trouble loving justice and mercy no matter what the verdict is.  The closest we usually get is a mixture where maybe the defendant gets prison time, but it’s not without the possibility of parole.  Perhaps they are found guilty, but they receive public service as their sentence.  Still, that does not usually sit well with either camp and we tend to make judgments on the court system.

To genuinely have both justice and mercy we must become humble.  We can completely love both justice and mercy if we step back and realize that the only real judge is God.  His judgments have the full freedom for justice and mercy as He sees fit with or without our input.  Fully loving both justice and mercy is a reflection of our being more in love with Jesus than we are with the outcome.  Not that the outcome does not matter, but that our faith in Him is strong enough to trust Him through situations were we feel justice was needed and mercy was given (see Jonah) or the other way around.  This goes hand in hand with loving our enemies (see Matthew 5:43-48).  Any manager can render judgment on a situation and celebrate when their thoughts have come to fulfillment, but it takes something so much more to willingly surrender to the hand of Jesus and wait for His completion.  Notice that we renew our strength after we wait and have surrendered all.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

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