It seems that in the middle of every feud, be it theological, political, who left the toilet seat up or the toothpaste cap off, there are those who will staunchly dissect and throw their fist in the air, tout truth and justice. Rightness is the aim. And then there are those who will seek peace, restoration, claim mercy and love as the higher standard. Progress is the aim.
What is interesting here, though, is that those of the justice persuasion will rarely come over to the side of mercy, but those of the mercy persuasion will come over to the side of justice only when their acts of love are being infringed upon.
Who ends up looking like the bad guy here?
The just of course. The less progressive one.
Nobody likes a bully. And the world, and the Church, is full of bullies. Those who throw big words and the Bible around with little regard for the people it affects.
But I would like to propose, if I may, the fact that the sneakier of the two is the merciful turned just.
We ought to be wary of sneaky people. The world, and the Church, is full of sneaky people. Those who have agendas in every direction and woo us in with good-feeling words.
And someone wants to talk about feelings here, I know (because you are the merciful ones). But when I begin to infringe on yours, you bring out the big guns and talk about how I ought to be just and not be too mean because someone’s feelings might be hurt. (Let the record stand that I am by nature a Mercy, and by nurture, Just.)
Instead of taking our cues from culture, from just judges or merciful peacekeepers, from liberals or conservatives, from caps on or seats up, maybe we should take our cues from God who is perfect judge and perfect mercy.
He is perfect judge, so sin is not tolerated, holiness is the only acceptable state, watered down faith isn’t helpful, and nothing but the best will do.
But He is also perfect mercy, so He gave a Substitute, laid on Him the sins of us all, but still, nothing but the best will do.
In our pursuit of mercy and love and all the good feeling parts of our faith, let’s not forget that sin entered the world and our heroes of the faith still fall miserably short of anything good—and that sin (false teaching, acts of unrighteousness, mockery of God, poor leadership) ought to be exposed for God’s glory and our good.
And in our pursuit of justice and truth and all the certain parts of our faith, let’s not forget that the same righteousness that covers us, covers our sisters and brothers too—and that the call on all of us is glory to glory, faith to faith, further in, further on, nearer to God, nearer to glory.