“Do you value justice over mercy?”
This question has popped up in some form or another in every personality test I’ve taken. “Mercy or justice? Which one matters?” Like they are diametrically opposed.
And don’t we live like they are? Don’t we fight for which one matters, justice or mercy, at the polls every time election season comes our way.
Valuing mercy stands apart like a political statement, instead of a Biblical one. But friends, we cannot sacrifice the mercy Christ has promised our soul out of fear of being too political.
Blessed are the merciful. That’s it. There’s no qualifying clause declaring that we are blessed when we give mercy to those who deserve it or to those who have shown mercy. Because showing mercy isn’t about what the other person deserves, it is about showing what we want to be shown.Blessed are the merciful. There’s no qualifying clause saying that we are blessed when we give mercy to those who deserve it or to those who have shown mercy. Because showing mercy isn’t about what the other person deserves, it is… Click To Tweet
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
I cannot read through this passage with the famous passage on justice, on judging others, running through my mind.
For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. – Matthew 7:2, ESV
We extend not what people have earned, and certainly not what they deserve, because we are a people who have been given abundantly more than we have ever merited. And then, we beg for even more still.
We have the audacity to ask for abundance from God while shutting off the abundance of our hearts to those around us. But if we are a people marked by the mercy of God, we should be marked by that mercy flowing out of all that we do.We have the audacity to ask for abundance from God while shutting off the abundance of our hearts to those around us. But if we are a people marked by the mercy of God, we should be marked by that mercy flowing out of all that we… Click To Tweet
Others should know us, not because they always get what they deserve, but because they receive what they surely do not deserve when they cross our path. Love, justice, and mercy should all slow from what has been extended to us. Because that is the measure that we set for ourselves to be measured by.
Do I want to be extended mercy or justice?
That question provides a much easier answer.
Because I know the depths of my heart. I know the secret sins I harbor and the sins are that readily visible to all who look at my heart. And if every sin was held against me, if I was held to justice for each and every one, I would crumble long before we reached the end of the list.
So I keep going, I keep pressing towards holiness. But that holiness, that process of being conformed to the image of Jesus, should mean that I am becoming more and more merciful as Jesus was merciful.
Jesus valued both, mercy and justice. He extended mercy to us and stood in our place, absorbing the wrath that justice demanded because of our sins. Justice and mercy meet perfectly at the cross where the punishment due to us was poured out upon Jesus and, in turn, mercy was poured on us.
As Christians, we should be marked as the people who realize justice and mercy are not diametrically opposed but people who see where they are united.
We need to champion the broken, the downtrodden, and those blinded by the lure of sin. Because when we were lost in our sin, Christ said, “Blessed are the merciful” and showed us mercy. If our perfect King took up our cause, can we not take up the cause of those around us who were made in His image?
If we have been marked by the mercy of God, we should be the people who in turn mark with mercy.
So how are you known? Are you known by someone who gives those around them what they deserve or do you give mercy? When someone wrongs you, are you quick to let them know exactly what they need or do you lavish them with mercy?
Are you stingy with your mercy or do you lavish others with mercy beyond their due?
Because when we lavish others with mercy, when that is how we are known, Christ promises that the same mercy will be shown to us.
Jesus could have emphasized our need to be a just people, but that’s not what we want extended to us. We want mercy. So let us give in turn love our neighbor as ourselves by proving ourselves again and again to be a merciful people.