“Hear, O man; what does the Lord require of you but to love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
When we see an injustice in the news, in places around us or in our own lives, what’s our immediate response? If you’re like me, I easily get frustrated, angry and want to impose justice immediately. Whether it’s being cut on the line or being treated unjustly by an offender that I know, my initial response, in my heart and in my mind is, I WANT JUSTICE AND I WANT IT NOW.
Then God immediately reminds me of something. He reminds me to not only want justice but also to love mercy. The two goes together.
If you’re watching the news lately, there’s a lot of injustice that’s happening around us. From a road rage incident to a street fight gone wrong, all of us want justice, but how many of us are willing to give mercy? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that murder, rape or whatever injustice that may be is either acceptable or tolerable, it is not. God hates it and grieves in it. I’m also not saying that in able to extend mercy to a criminal would mean to just let him/her go and free from the charges against him/her.
As I think of it, given that I am the offender in that case, definitely I would love receiving mercy, wouldn’t you? But what I really want to say is that, as people who has experienced firsthand the mercy and the justice of God, if we are not careful, we can go to the extreme. Two things can happen; we can lean so hard on justice that we have no place for mercy, or we can lean hard on mercy that it minimizes justice. Either way, God doesn’t respond to our sin against Him in that way. God always responds to us lovingly in mercy while doing justice and both of that happened to Jesus on the Cross. He showed us mercy while receiving the justice for the punishment we deserved.
In Second Thessalonians 3:8-15, we can see that the Apostle Paul reminds us that mercy is to be imitated and justice is to be obeyed. Both are forms of love that desire the good of the people. That’s the Gospel of Christ, it extravagantly extends mercy yet at the same time honourably embraces justice, and both are always worked out for the good of those who love God. Love mercy and do justice, whether it’s in social media, in the streets or in your own home.
14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer. 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15
Great balance from the apostle Paul. Speak about justice BUT do not consider someone as your enemy. Warn them as a brother and love them still.
“The more personal and private the offense, the more mercy to show; the more communal and public the offense, the more justice to require. Be sure in either case that your motive is love for the most people involved, including the offender.” – John Piper