Some questions our class discussed today:
- Do we love justice more than mercy? How do the two work together?
- What does it look like to approach both with humility?
- How do we stay focused on God’s justice and God’s mercy, instead of our own interpretations?
In reflection today I came up with the term “just mercility” to help my brain wrap around the interplay between all three. The tension between justice and mercy especially can be quite taut. Yet I feel like the two actually go together like the pedals of a bicycle. Without either, you will go nowhere–and end up feeling exhausted and off-balance.
It’s so easy to see love and mercy as opposed to truth and justice. Yet isn’t doing the truthful thing, the just thing, the holy thing, a big way we show love to each other? In all we do in justice work (which I would argue means in everything we do, period), shouldn’t we have the best interest of others and our communities at heart?
In the end, it’s hard to establish any of these three elements without the underlying foundation of relationship. Once we know someone, care for them, and have their well-being at heart, we are more eager for them to receive mercy–and in the process, justice.
We can talk about the concepts of “justice,” “mercy,” and “humility” all we want. A basic understanding of our theology behind each is certainly important. Yet perhaps, just like we do not fully know someone until we have spent a good deal of time together, we do not fully know the full expression of these terms until we have lived with them for some time, day in and day out. Until, as Job says, “I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban.”
Or, as Paul had it, “Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus, the Messiah”.